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Where Was The Outrage With The Palestinian Basic Law?

As I have mentioned, the world has condemned Israel’s Nation-State law. And that naturally includes our “peace partners.”

The Palestinians strongly condemned the Jewish Nation-State Law that was approved by the Knesset on Thursday, dubbing it a “racist and apartheid law.”

The Palestinians also called on the UN General Assembly to reinstate the “Zionism is racism” resolution that was adopted in 1975 but repealed in 1991.

So I decided to have a look at their latest version of their basic law, their “constitution” as it were. And while it is way more extensive than Israel’s nation-state law (which if anything is more akin to the preamble only of a constitution), comparisons can be made.

For a start, I have found clauses in the Palestinian Basic Law very similar to some in Israel’s Nation State bill:

Israel’s Nation State Bill (2018) Palestinian Basic Law (2003)
1. The State of Israel
a) Israel is the historical homeland of the Jewish people in which the state of Israel was established.
b) The state of Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, in which it actualizes its natural, religious, and historical right for self-determination.
c) The actualization of the right of national self-determination in the state of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.
The continuous attachment of the Arab Palestinian people to the land of their fathers and forefathers, on which this people has historically lived, is a fact that has been expressed in the Declaration of Independence, issued by the Palestine National Council.
2. National symbols of the State of Israel
a) The name of the state is Israel.
b) The flag of the state is white, two blue stripes near the edges, and a blue Star of David in the center.
c) The symbol of the state is the Menorah with seven branches, olive leaves on each side, and the word Israel at the bottom.
d) The national anthem of the state is “Hatikvah”
e) [Further] details concerning the issue of state symbols will be determined by law.
Article 8
The flag of Palestine shall be of four colors and in accordance with the dimensions and measurements approved by the Palestine Liberation Organization.  It shall be the official flag of the country.
3. [The] unified and complete [city of] Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Article 3
Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine.
4. The Language of the State of Israel
a) Hebrew is the language of the state.
b) The Arabic language has a special status in the state; the regulation of the Arab language in state institutions or when facing them will be regulated by law.
c) This clause does not change the status given to the Arabic language before the basic law was created.8. The Hebrew calendar is the official calendar of the state and alongside it the secular calendar will serve as an official calendar. The usage of the Hebrew calendar and of the secular calendar will be determined by law.9. National Holidays
a) Independence Day is the official holiday of the state.
b) The Memorial Day for those who fell in the wars of Israel and the Memorial Day for the Holocaust and heroism are official memorial days of the state.10. Saturday and the Jewish Holidays are the official days of rest in the state. Those who are not Jewish have the right to honor their days of rest and their holidays. Details concerning these matters will be determined by law.
Article 4
Islam is the official religion in Palestine. Respect for the sanctity of all other divine religions shall be maintained.
The principles of Islamic Shari’a shall be a principal source of legislation.
Arabic shall be the official language.
5. The state will be open to Jewish immigration and to the gathering of the exiled. Introduction
The birth of the Palestinian National Authority in the national homeland of Palestine, the land of their forefathers, comes within the context of continuous and vigorous struggle, during which the Palestinian people witnessed thousands of their precious children sacrificed as martyrs, injured persons and prisoners of war, all in order to achieve their people’s clear national rights, the foremost of which are the right of return..


I do not recall there being any uproar over the Palestinian Basic Law. Go figure.

But it gets better (or worse, depending on your perspective). The Palestinian Basic Law has some real doozies.

For a start, they go out of their way to not mention Judaism.

The enactment of this temporary Basic Law for a transitional and interim period constitutes a fundamental step towards the realization of the firm national and historical rights of the Arab Palestinian people. It shall not in any way whatsoever abrogate or cancel their right to continue to strive to achieve their rights of return and self-determination, including the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem (al-Quds al-Sharif) as its capital, which is the first shrine and the third mosque, to which the Prophet Muhammad,may peace be upon him, traveled by night, in the land of the nativity of Jesus,may peace be upon him.

And all Palestinians have equal rights. This does not include Jews.

The provisional character of the Basic Law shall not abrogate the right of any Palestinian, wherever residing, to exercise equal rights with his/her fellow citizens on the soil of the homeland.

Article 9

Palestinians shall be equal before the law and the judiciary, without distinction based upon race, sex, color, religion, political views or disability.

Then there’s some provisions which we know are not implemented, given the conduct of the PA and Hamas. For example:

Article 11

  1. Personal freedom is a natural right, shall be guaranteed and may not be violated.
  2. It is unlawful to arrest, search, imprison, restrict the freedom, or prevent the movement of any person, except by judicial order in accordance with the provisions of the law. The law shall specify the period of prearrest detention. Imprisonment or detention shall only be permitted in places that are subject to laws related to the organization of prisons.

Article 12

Every arrested or detained person shall be informed of the reason for their arrest or detention. They shall be promptly informed, in a language they understand, of the nature of the charges brought against them. They shall have the right to contact a lawyer and to be tried before a court without delay.

Article 13

  1. No person shall be subject to any duress or torture. Indictees and all persons deprived of their freedom shall receive  proper treatment.
  2. All statements or confessions obtained through violation of the provisions contained in paragraph 1 of this article shall be considered null and void.

The fact none of the mainstream media nor world leaders even commented, let along criticized the Palestinian Basic Law, should speak volumes how they ultimately do not accept Israel as a Jewish state. Which is a huge reason why Israel’s Nation-State law was even needed to begin with.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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