Palestinian Constitutionalism: A Stalled Project - December 2020

Palestinian Constitutionalism: A Stalled Project

The drafting and the adoption of a Basic Law for the Palestinian Authority was a drawn-out and laborious process. This written constitution was an achievement: Palestinian political representatives had endorsed the pillars of Constitutionalism, reproducing this commitment within a single written document. This was a single instance of a wider global phenomenon that is referenced in the literature as written constitutionalism.
The expectations that had been invested into the Basic Law when it entered into force soon evaporated. This article argues that the enthusiasm for a written constitution should be understood with reference to the symbolic appeal of specific principles and values. After presenting written constitutionalism, the article then attempts to demonstrate that political practice preceded the entrenchment of rules and institutions necessary for constitutionalism. Finally, the article submits that written Constitutionalism in Palestine has stalled, losing its momentum and impetus.