chapter  3
14 Pages

Constitutionalism in Colonial Context: The Palestinian Basic Law as a Metaphoric Representation of Palestinian Politics (1993–2007)

Trying to understand social and political transformations through the law can be enlightening because legal and institutional processes are historical products that bear the traces of the social and political context in which they take place. In other words, legal structures are social creations reflecting the role played by the actors, the relative positions that they occupied in different periods of time, and the strategies that they deployed. I argue that the Palestinian constitutional process (1993-2007)—and the institutional structures that it implied-was a central battlefield for the actors of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In the course of this process, significant political dimensions-i.e., the nature of the actors’ power relations, their conception of the Oslo process, the role that they attributed to the Palestinian Authority-were spelled out in legal-institutional terms and mirrored in the political structure of the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority (PA). It is in this sense that the constitutional order can be understood as a sort of metaphoric representation of Palestinian politics.