Country Governance

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POGAR > Countries > Occupied Palestinian Territories In Brief

Basic Information

Country Flag:
Country Map: N/A
Country Name: Palestinian National Authority
Name of Capital City:
Date of Independence: On August 20, 1993, representatives from the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel signed an accord in Oslo, Norway.
On September 13, 1993, the leader of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin, and the leader of the PLO, Yassir Arafat, signed the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements (DOP) in Washington DC. The DOP provides for a five-year interim government until a permanent settlement is achieved.

Administrative Divisions

Regions, Provinces or Governorates: 16 governorates: Jerusalem, Jericho, Bethlehem, Hebron, Nablus, Jenin, Tulkarm, Qalqilya, Tubas, Salfit, Ramallah and Al-Bireh, Gaza North (Jabaliah), Gaza City, Deir El-Balah, Khan Younis, and Rafah.
Country Area (sq km): 309500
Population (million): 4 (2007)
Population, annual growth rate (%) 1975-2005: 3.7
Population, estimated growth rate (%) 2005-2015: 3.0

Political System

Type of State:
Date of Constitution: In February 1996 a Draft Basic Law for the National Authority in the Transitional Period was approved by the Palestinian Legislative Council to provide a provisional framework for the Palestinian state until a permanent settlement is achieved.
On May 29, 2002 the Basic Law was ratified by President Arafat. This Basic Law differs slightly from the draft law approved in 1996.

Head of State

Type: The head of the Palestinian National Authority is an elected president.
Name of Current: Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) was elected on January 9, 2005 as president of the Palestinian National authority. He succeeds Yasser Arafat who died on November 11, 2004.

Executive Branch

About: The president, the prime minister and the cabinet form the executive branch.
The president appoints the prime minister, who forms the cabinet.
Name of Current: Salam Fayyad was appointed as head of an emergency government on June 15, 2007 following the dismissal of Prime Minister Ismael Haniyyah by President Mahmoud Abbas in June 14, 2007. Ismael Hanniyah had assumed the position of Prime Minister on February 21, 2006.

Legislative Branch

Type: Unicameral legislative authority
- Palestine Legislative Council [Arabic]
- Palestinian National Council [Arabic]


Suffrage: Suffrage is extended to all Palestinians above the age of 18.
- See Also: Occupied Palestinian Territories - Election Calendar and Results

Human Development Indicators

Human development index (HDI): 0.737 (2007)
HDI rank (worldwide): 110 (2007)
Adult literacy rate (% aged 15 and older): 93.8 (2007)
Female secondary gross enrollment (%): 95.4 (2007)
Gross enrollment, tertiary level education (%): 46.2 (2007)
Life expectancy at birth (years): 13.059 (2010)
Poverty index (HP1-1) value (%): 6 (2007)
GDP per capita (PPP US$): N/A
GDP per capita (PPP US$) rank minus HDI rank: 27 (2006)
* See more human development indicators on Arab Statistics (external link)

Judiciary Branch

Legal system and codification: Common Law practices and Islamic legal principles.
Administration: Article 91 of the Basic Law provides for a High Judicial Council, presided over by the Chief Justice, to serve as the administrative authority of the judiciary.
Supreme Court: The Supreme Court is composed of a High Constitutional Court; a Court of Cassation to hear civil, criminal, and commercial matters; and a High Court of Justice to hear administrative disputes.
Constitutional Court: The High Constitutional Court has the authority to review laws and rules to ascertain their constitutionality.
Shari'a or Personal Status:

Membership in International Organizations

United Nations (UN): Observer
International Monetary Fund (IMF): Not a member
World Trade Organization (WTO): Not a member
Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court (ICC):
World Bank – International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD): Not a member
World Bank – International Finance Corporation (IFC): Not a member
World Bank – Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA): Not a member
World Bank – International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID): Not a member

Ratification of International Conventions

- Human Rights Conventions
- International Labor Organization (ILO) Conventions
- UN Conventions against Corruption and Transnational Organized Crime
- Environment Treaties