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Israel Index
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Constitutional Background

Israel, like Canada and New Zealand, has no written constitution in one single document, but rather a number of Basic Laws.  The West Bank, added to the territory during the 1967 war, is the Judea and Samaria of biblical Israel. Even after massive settling of Israelis (120,000), the West Bank is populated mainly by Palestinians (more than 1 million).

Palestine: During elections for President and a Palestinian Council on 27 Jan 1996, the people in the occupied territories presented a high turnout of up to 90% (Gaza Strip; 68% West Bank; 50% Hebron; 40% East Jerusalem). Leader of the PLO and Fatah Party, Yasser Arafat, was elected President with 88% against Samiha Khalil with 9%. The Fatah Party provides 66 of the 88 members in the Palestinian Council. Its chief task will be drawing up a constitution for the interim period of self-government. Also, a 20-member executive, the Palestinian Authority, will be appointed by the President; 15 of the members have to be from among the Palestinian Council. However, the 'final-status' talks with Israel will be held between Arafat as the PLO representative, not by the Council or the Executive. The PLO itself has been more or less defunct since the first accord in Sep 1993. Also, the Palestine National Council (PNC), an exile parliament, has not met since 1991.

History and News

  • 21 June 1996: Cairo summit of Arab countries to work out a response to the surprise election of Netanyahu
  • 29 May 1996: Israel votes for a new Likud government under Binyamin Netanyahu
  • May 1996: Date for final status negotiations with the PLO; the parties are supposed to reach a final agreement no later than May 1999. 
  • 27 Jan 1996: Successful Palestinian Council and President elections with high turnout. Yasser Arafat becomes President of Palestine. 
  • 4 Nov 1995: Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin dies at the hands of the assassin Yigal Amir, a fanatic Israeli law student opposing the peace plans. Mr. Peres succeeds him in office. 
  • 26 Oct 1995: Islamic Jihad leader Fathi Shkaki is murdered in Malta, presumably by agents of Israel's secret service Mossad at the order of the government. 
  • Sep 1995: Israel signs an accord with the Palestinians under Arafat which provides for handing hundreds of towns and villages in the West Bank over to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) of Yasser Arafat
  • Oct 1994: Peace treaty with Jordan. 
  • Sep 1993: First accord with the PLO. 
  • 1992: Labor Pary under Yitzhak Rabin wins elections. 
  • 1977: Likud wins power and starts strategic settlements on the Golan Heights and along the Jordan river. 
  • 1967: Israel occupies Sinai, the Golan Heights, and the West Bank

For methodology see: Comparing Constitutions and International Constitutional Law.
© 1994 - December 16th, 2010 / For corrections please contact A. Tschentscher.