Proclamation of the Constitutional Statute of Gaza, 1962
Cairo, 5 March 1962
The President of the Republic,
Palestine is a cherished and indivisible part of the great Arab homeland, and its people are free Arabs from the heart of the glorious free Arab nation.
Whereas Britain - the country that conquered Palestine and was later mandated to administer it - laid its colonialist plans to erect a foreign aggressive entity in the midst of the Arab nation in order to tear its unity apart, promised the Jews to give them a homeland on the ruins of Arab Palestine, incorporated its promise into the text of the Mandate, and deprived its Arab people of a national government that represents them and draws its authority from their will. And when, in August 1922, it issued a constitution [the Palestine Order in Council] to serve these aims, the Arabs refused and rose in continuous and bloody revolts until Britain handed over the land of Palestine to the Zionist gangs. Then events took place which turned Palestine into a gaping wound in the Arab being, grieving the Arabs’ hearts and provoking their overwhelming emotion, joined in this by free people everywhere.
Whereas one of the basic aims of the Arab nation is the liberation of the land of Palestine from foreign colonialism so that its legitimate people can return to it after they were forcefully driven out in contradiction to law and morality.
Whereas the United Arab Republic has been supporting and aiding the people in the Gaza Strip until they could achieve their victory, which will be soon, and in doing so, issued Law No. 255 of 1955 on the Basic Law of the Gaza Strip.
And whereas the requirements of development and the succession of events necessitate the enactment of a new constitutional statute that would meet the aspirations and objectives of the Palestinian people,
The Gaza Strip is an indivisible part of the land of Palestine and its people are part of the Arab Nation.
ARTICLE 2. [Amended, 5 January 1965]*
The liberation of Palestine is a sacred duty for its sons and for every Arab. To this end, the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip work together with their brothers, the sons of Palestine, wherever they may be to form a national organization (the Palestine Liberation Organization) whose supreme aim is to work jointly to recover the usurped land of Palestine, and to contribute to achieving the mission of Arab nationalism.
ARTICLE 2. [Original]
The Palestinians in the Gaza Strip shall form a National Union composed of all Palestinians wherever they may be – its aim being to work jointly to recover the usurped land of Palestine, and to contribute to fulfilling the mission of Arab Nationalism.
The National Union shall be organized by a decree issued by the Governor-General.
Public Rights and Obligations
Palestinians are equal before the law. They are equal in their rights and obligations, without distinction as to origin, language or religion.
Personal freedom is guaranteed and no person may be arrested or imprisoned except in accordance with the provisions of the law.
There shall be no crime or punishment except in accordance with the law. There shall be no punishment except for actions subsequent to the issuance of the law prescribing them.
The right of defense either in person or by proxy is guaranteed by law. Every person accused of a crime shall have someone to defend him. .
Punishment shall be personal.
An accused may not be harmed physically or morally.
Homes are inviolable. They may not be placed under surveillance or entered except in the cases defined by the law and in the manner prescribed by it.
Freedom of residence and movement is guaranteed within the limits of the law.
Freedom of faith is absolute. The practice of religious rites is guaranteed in accordance with established customs and as long as they do not disrupt public order or contradict morality.
Freedom of opinion is guaranteed. Every person may express one’s opinion and publish it either by word, in writing, photography or otherwise within the limits of the law.
Private property is inviolable. Property may not be expropriated except for the purpose of public utility and in exchange for a just compensation in accordance with the law.
Palestinians have the right to address public authorities in writing and with their signatures. Public authorities may not be addressed in the name of groups except by established institutions.
The executive power shall be vested in the Governor-General together with the Executive Council within the limits of this Constitutional Statute.
The legislative power shall be vested in the Governor-General together with the Legislative Council in the manner stipulated by the provisions of this Constitutional Statute.
Judiciary power shall be vested in the Supreme Court and the other Courts in accordance with the provisions stipulated by this Constitutional Statute and other laws.
The Governor-General shall be appointed by a decree from the President of the United Arab Republic. In case of the Governor-General's absence, or the vacancy of his post or any other impediment, the U.A.R. Minister of War shall appoint an acting Governor-General who, however, shall not have the right to ratify and issue laws.
Before assuming office the Governor-General shall take the following oath before the President of the United Arab Republic in the presence of the Minister of War:
“I swear by Almighty God to respect the Constitutional Statute of the Gaza Strip and the law, take full care of the interests of the Palestinian people, and exercise my powers with honesty and faithfulness.”
The Governor-General shall ratify and issue laws in the name of the Palestinian people within two months from the date on which they are submitted to him. If he decides not to ratify a draft law passed by the Legislative Council, he shall have the right to return it to the Legislative Council for reconsideration.
If the Governor-General does not return the draft law to the Legislative Council within this period, this shall be considered as ratification of the draft law which may thus be issued.
The Legislative Council may not reconsider during the same session a draft law the ratification of which has been rejected.
If during another session the Legislative Council approves by a majority of three-quarters of its members a draft law which the Governor-General had refused to ratify, the Legislative Council will return it to the Governor-General for promulgation.
The Governor-General shall have the right to declare or terminate a state of emergency.
The Governor-General shall ratify the sentences passed by military courts and shall have the right to exonerate an accused person of any punishment issued by any court, or to commute the sentence.
A general amnesty can only be granted by a special law.
The Executive Council
The Executive Council shall be composed of:
1- The Governor-General (Chairman).
2- Deputy Governor-General (if any) .
3- Director of Legal Affairs.
4- Director of the Interior and Public Security.
5- Director of Finance and Economy.
6- Director of Education and Culture.
7- Director of Health.
8- Director of Public Works.
9- Director of Municipal Affairs.
10- Director of Social Affairs and Refugees Affairs.
11- Director of Civil Affairs.
The Directors and the Deputy Governor-General (if any) shall be appointed by a decree from the Minister of War of the United Arab Republic.
A meeting of the Executive Council is valid only with the presence of five members at least besides the Chairman. Its decrees shall be issued by the majority vote of those present. In case of a tied vote the side having the vote of the Chairman will prevail.
The Executive Council shall lay down the secondary legislation necessary for the implementation of the laws in a manner that will not result in amending them, obstructing them or exonerating from their implementation.
The Executive Council shall organize the public services, appoint and dismiss employees according to the provisions prescribed by the law.
Should it be found necessary to take measures which cannot be delayed, the Executive Council shall have the right to issue decrees having the force of law in respect thereof. Such decrees shall be submitted to the Legislative Council when it convenes and shall remain valid unless rescinded by the Legislative Council.
0ther functions of the Executive Council shall be defined by law. The administration of the Strip, with the exception of these functions, shall be part of the functions of the Governor-General.
The Legislative Council
ARTICLE 30. [Amended 29 May 1962]**
The Legislative Council shall be formed in the following manner:
(a) Twenty-two members to be chosen by the elected members of the local committees of the Palestinian Arab National Union in the Gaza Strip in accordance with rules, conditions and electoral system issued by the Governor-General
(b) Ten members to be selected by a Governor-General’s decree from among qualified Palestinians fulfilling all the conditions for membership in the local committees of the National Union.
(c) Members of the Executive Council;
With the exception of ex-officio members no one shall be permitted to combine membership and a public post.
ARTICLE 30. [Original]
The Legislative Council shall be formed in the following manner:
(a) The Governor-General, Chairman;
(b) Members of the Executive Council;
(c) Twenty-two members to be chosen by the elected members of the local committees of the Palestinian Arab National Union in the Gaza Strip in accordance with rules, conditions and electoral system issued by the Governor-General; and
(d) Ten members to be selected by a Governor-General’s decree from among qualified Palestinians fulfilling all the conditions for membership in the local committees of the National Union.
With the exception of ex-officio members no one shall be permitted to combine membership and a public post.
The duration of membership in the Legislative Council is three years, commencing from the first meeting.
The member of the Legislative Council shall take the following oath at an open session before exercising his duties:
“I swear by Almighty God to respect the Constitutional Statute of the Gaza Strip and the law, and take full care of the interests of the Palestine people.”
ARTICLE 33. [Amended 29 May 1962]**
At the first meeting of its regular annual session, the Legislative Council shall elect a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker who shall assume their duties until the beginning of the next ordinary annual session. Should the seat of one of them become vacant, the Council shall elect his replacement until the end of his term.
ARTICLE 33. [Original]
The Legislative Council shall elect a Deputy Speaker at its first meeting. Should his seat become vacant another shall be elected by the Council to succeed him.
The Supreme Court in the Gaza Strip shall consider requests to nullify an election to the Legislative Council. The electoral system issued by the Governor-General shall specify the manner in which such requests should be submitted, considered and decided upon.
The seat of the Legislative Council shall be the town of Gaza.
The Governor-General shall convene the Legislative Council and close its session. The duration of the annual session of the Legislative Council shall be four months and the session shall not end before completion of its agenda.
The Governor-General shall have the right, during the session of the Legislative Council, to suspend its sitting, provided the suspension does not exceed two months.
The Legislative Council shall meet only at its official seat or at a place to be specified by the Governor-General if and when necessary. The Legislative Council shall meet only when invited to do so by the Chairman. Any meeting of its members that do not take place in accordance with these conditions shall have no effect.
The meetings of the Legislative Council shall be in public.
It may meet in camera at the request of the Governor-General or of ten of its members. The Council shall then decide whether discussion of the subject before it should be held in public or in camera.
The Legislative Council shall draw up its standing regulations. These regulations shall be issued by a decision to be taken by the Governor-General.
The Legislative Council shall not take a decision unless a majority of its members are present at the meeting. In cases other than those where a special majority is stipulated, decisions shall be taken by an absolute majority of members present. In case of a tied vote the opinion of the side including the Chairman shall prevail.
No law can be issued unless it is approved by the Legislative Council and ratified by the Governor-General.
The Executive Council and any member of the Legislative Council has the right to propose laws.
Each member of the Legislative Council has the right to table questions addressed to members of the Executive Council in the manner specified in the standing regulations. Members of the Executive Council have the right to postpone their answers thereto until the following meeting.
No member of the Council has the right to interfere in affairs that fall under the competence of the Executive or Judicial powers.
Members of the Legislative Council are not to blame for any views or opinions expressed by them while performing their duties in the Council.
No criminal charges can be brought during the session of the Legislative Council against any of its members, unless in cases of flagrante delicto, without the permission of the Council.
If any such measures are taken in the absence of the Legislative Council it must be notified of such measures.
Members of the Legislative Council, except those who are members of the Executive Council, shall receive remuneration to be specified by law.
If the seat of a member of the Legislative Council falls vacant because of death, resignation or other reasons, a substitute shall be chosen in the same manner as his predecessor. The duration of the term of office of the new member shall last until the termination of the term of the original member.
No member of the Legislative can be deprived of his membership except by a decision taken by the Council with a majority of two-thirds of its members, upon a motion to be tabled by the Chairman or ten of its members, should such a member lose confidence or fail to carry out his duties properly.
Judges shall be independent and shall not be subject to any authority other than that of the law.
No power is allowed to interfere in matters related to justice.
The law shall define the organs of the judiciary and their competence.
Courts shall hold their sessions in public, unless for reasons of public order or morality they decide to hold sessions in camera.
Sentences shall be passed and executed in the name of the Palestinian people.
Procedures and conditions for the appointment, transfer and non-removability of judges shall be regulated by law.
Procedures and conditions for the appointment, transfer and removal of members of Public Prosecution shall be regulated by law.
The Supreme Court shall be composed of a president, appointed by the President of the U.A.R. and members appointed by the U.A.R. Minister of War. The President of the Court shall take an oath to fulfill his duties with honesty and loyalty before the U.A.R. President, while members shall take the oath before the President of the Supreme Court.
With due consideration given to the provisions of any law concerning the functions assigned to the Supreme Court, the competence of the court shall include considering the annulment of administrative decisions when cases for such abrogation are based on lack of competence, or on defect in form, or violation of the law and regulations, or error in applying or interpreting the latter, or deviation in use of authority, all these cases to be dealt with as specified in the law.
Military courts shall be set up by order from the Governor-General to adjudicate on crimes affecting internal or external security, or the security of the Armed Forces. Verdicts shall be executed after ratification by the Governor-General.
No death sentence shall be executed unless finally approved by the U.A.R. War Minister.
The Armed Forces
The Armed Forces stationed in the Gaza Strip shall be under the command defined by the General Command of the U.A.R. Armed Forces.
The Commander-in-Chief of the U.A.R. Armed Forces shall have the authority to issue orders to the Armed Forces in Gaza in all matters related to the security of the troops or the requirement of military defense. These orders shall be binding as law.
The law shall define the regime of the police, its organization and its areas of competence.
The levying, modification or abrogation of taxation shall be governed by law. Exemption from taxation shall only be regulated by law.
No person may be required to pay taxes or dues except within the limits of the law
The law shall define the fiscal year.
The Governor-General shall present the draft budget to the Legislative Council and the latter shall review non-recurring appropriations.
The Governor-General shall not approve the draft budget until the Council has expressed its view, as stipulated in the previous article.
Expenditure not included in the budget or exceeding estimations contained therein has to be approved by the Executive Council, and no sums may be transferred from one section of the budget to another except after the approval of the Executive Council, with the Legislative Council duly notified.
The State Audit Department of the United Arab Republic shall audit the government accounts in the Gaza Strip and shall submit reports on the results to the President of the Republic.
Unless inconsistent with the provisions of this Constitutional Statute, all Palestine laws, regulations and orders shall remain in force. Similarly, laws, instructions, proclamations and orders enacted the Minister of War, or the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces or any other competent authority since the entrance of the Egyptian Forces into the area on May 15, 1948, shall remain in force unless they violate the provisions of this Constitutional Statute.
The foregoing should not derogate from the right of the Legislative Power to abrogate or amend laws and regulations within the limits of its competence. No responsibility would follow in consequence of the measures, actions, orders or judgments, issued prior to February 25, 1958 in compliance with the laws, statutes, orders, proclamations or instructions referred to in the previous paragraph.
Laws shall come into effect 30 days after promulgation in the Official Gazette of the Gaza Strip unless a prior date is stipulated in the law.
Laws shall be applied only to what occurs after their entry into force, and shall
have no retroactive effect. However, with regard to non-criminal provisions the law may stipulate otherwise.
Under no circumstances shall any provision of this Constitutional Statute be suspended, except, temporarily, in time of war or emergency and as specified in the law,.
This Constitutional Statute shall be in force in the Gaza Strip until a permanent constitution for the state of Palestine is issued. Each of the Governor-General and the Legislative Council is entitled to propose to the President of the U.A.R. that amendments be made to this Statute
This Constitutional Statute shall enter into force from the date of its publication in the Official Journal of the U.A.R. and the Official Gazette of the Gaza Strip.
Issued at the Presidency of the Republic on 28 Ramadan 1381 (March 5, 1962)
(signed) Gamal Abdel Nasser
Source: al-Jarida al-rasmiyya (al-jamhouriyya al-arabiyya al-muttahida) [Official Gazette (United Arab Republic)]. 29 March 1962, no. 75. (Translated by the Institute for Palestine Studies.)
* Amendment issued on 5 January 1965 and published in the UAR Official Gazette. 7 February 1965, no. 28. [editor's note]
** Amendment issued on 29 May 1962 and published in the UAR Official Gazette. 19 June 1962, no. 137. [editor's note]