Damascus is the capital of the Syrian Arab Republic. It is colloquially known in Syria as aš-Šām and titled the "City of Jasmine". In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major cultural center of the Levant and the Arab world; the city has an estimated population of 1,711,000 as of 2009. Located in south-western Syria, Damascus is the center of a large metropolitan area of 2.7 million people. Geographically embedded on the eastern foothills of the Anti-Lebanon mountain range 80 kilometres inland from the eastern shore of the Mediterranean on a plateau 680 metres above sea level, Damascus experiences a semi-arid climate because of the rain shadow effect; the Barada River flows through Damascus. First settled in the second millennium BC, it was chosen as the capital of the Umayyad Caliphate from 661 to 750. After the victory of the Abbasid dynasty, the seat of Islamic power was moved to Baghdad. Damascus saw a political decline throughout the Abbasid era, only to regain significant importance in the Ayyubid and Mamluk periods.
Today, it is all of the government ministries. As of 2018, Damascus has witnessed repeated conflicts and has been considered by Mercer as one of the most unfavorable places to live; the name of Damascus first appeared in the geographical list of Thutmose III as / T-m-ś-q in the 15th century BC. The etymology of the ancient name "T-m-ś-q" is uncertain, it is attested as Imerišú in Akkadian, T-m-ś-q in Egyptian, Dammaśq in Old Aramaic and Dammeśeq in Biblical Hebrew. A number of Akkadian spellings are found in the Amarna letters, from the 14th century BC: Dimasqa, Dimàsqì, Dimàsqa. Aramaic spellings of the name include an intrusive resh influenced by the root dr, meaning "dwelling". Thus, the English and Latin name of the city is "Damascus", imported from originated from "the Qumranic Darmeśeq, Darmsûq in Syriac", meaning "a well-watered land". In Arabic, the city is called Dimašqu š-Šāmi, although this is shortened to either Dimašq or aš-Šām by the citizens of Damascus, of Syria and other Arab neighbors and Turkey.
Aš-Šām is an Arabic term for "Levant" and for "Syria". Baalshamin or Ba'al Šamem, was a Semitic sky-god in Canaan/Phoenicia and ancient Palmyra. Hence, Sham refers to. Damascus was built in a strategic site on a plateau 680 m above sea level and about 80 km inland from the Mediterranean, sheltered by the Anti-Lebanon mountains, supplied with water by the Barada River, at a crossroads between trade routes: the north-south route connecting Egypt with Asia Minor, the east-west cross-desert route connecting Lebanon with the Euphrates river valley; the Anti-Lebanon mountains mark the border between Lebanon. The range has peaks of over 10,000 ft. and blocks precipitation from the Mediterranean sea, so that the region of Damascus is sometimes subject to droughts. However, in ancient times this was mitigated by the Barada River, which originates from mountain streams fed by melting snow. Damascus is surrounded by the Ghouta, irrigated farmland where many vegetables and fruits have been farmed since ancient times.
Maps of Roman Syria indicate that the Barada river emptied into a lake of some size east of Damascus. Today it is called Bahira Atayba, the hesitant lake, because in years of severe drought it does not exist; the modern city has an area of 105 km2, out of which 77 km2 is urban, while Jabal Qasioun occupies the rest. The old city of Damascus, enclosed by the city walls, lies on the south bank of the river Barada, dry. To the south-east and north-east it is surrounded by suburban areas whose history stretches back to the Middle Ages: Midan in the south-west and Imara in the north and north-west; these neighborhoods arose on roads leading out of the city, near the tombs of religious figures. In the 19th century outlying villages developed on the slopes of Jabal Qasioun, overlooking the city the site of the al-Salihiyah neighborhood centered on the important shrine of medieval Andalusian Sheikh and philosopher Ibn Arabi; these new neighborhoods were settled by Kurdish soldiery and Muslim refugees from the European regions of the Ottoman Empire which had fallen under Christian rule.
Thus they were known as al-Muhajirin. They lay 2–3 km north of the old city. From the late 19th century on, a modern administrative and commercial center began to spring up to the west of the old city, around the Barada, centered on the area known as al-Marjeh or the meadow. Al-Marjeh soon became the name of what was the central square of modern Damascus, with the city hall in it; the courts of justice, post office and railway station stood on higher ground to the south. A Europeanized residential quarter soon began to be built on the road leading between al-Marjeh and al-Salihiyah; the commercial and administrative center of the new city shifted northwards towards this area. In the 20th century, newer suburbs developed north of the Barada, to some extent to the south, invading the Ghouta oasis. In 1956–1957 the new neighborhood of Yarmouk bec
Fatah the Palestinian National Liberation Movement, is a Palestinian nationalist political party and the largest faction of the confederated multi-party Palestine Liberation Organization and the second-largest party in the Palestinian Legislative Council. The President of the Palestinian Authority is a member of Fatah. Fatah is considered to have had a strong involvement in revolutionary struggle in the past and has maintained a number of militant groups. Fatah had been identified with the leadership of its founder and Chairman Yasser Arafat, until his death in 2004, when Farouk Kaddoumi constitutionally succeeded him to the position of Fatah Chairman, continued in the position until 2009, when Mahmoud Abbas was elected Chairman. Since Arafat's death, factionalism within the ideologically diverse movement has become more apparent. In the 2006 election for the PLC, the party lost its majority in the PLC to Hamas. However, the Hamas legislative victory led to a conflict between Fatah and Hamas, with Fatah retaining control of the Palestinian National Authority in the West Bank through its President.
The full name of the movement is حركة التحرير الوطني الفلسطيني ḥarakat al-taḥrīr al-waṭanī al-Filasṭīnī, meaning the "Palestinian National Liberation Movement". From this was crafted the reverse acronym فتح Fatḥ meaning "opening", "conquering", or "victory"; the word "fatḥ" or "fatah" is used in religious discourse to signify the Islamic expansion in the first centuries of Islamic history –as in Fatḥ al-Sham, the "conquering of the Levant". "Fatah" has religious significance in that it is the name of the 48th sura of the Quran which, according to major Muslim commentators, details the story of the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah. (During the peaceful two years after the Hudaybiyyah treaty, many converted to Islam, increasing the strength of the Muslim side. It was the breach of this treaty by the Quraysh; this Islamic precedent was cited by Yasser Arafat as justification for his signing the Oslo Accords with Israel. The Fatah movement, which espoused a Palestinian nationalist ideology in which Palestinian Arabs would be liberated by their own actions, was founded in 1959 by members of the Palestinian diaspora – more principally by professionals working in the Persian Gulf States who had studied in Cairo or Beirut and had been refugees in Gaza.
The founders included Yasser Arafat head of the General Union of Palestinian Students at Cairo University. Fatah became the dominant force in Palestinian politics after the Six-Day War in 1967. Fatah joined the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1967, it was allocated 33 of 105 seats in the PLO Executive Committee. Founder Yasser Arafat became Chairman of the PLO in 1969, after the position was ceded to him by Yahya Hammuda. According to the BBC, "Mr Arafat took over as chairman of the executive committee of the PLO in 1969, a year that Fatah is recorded to have carried out 2,432 guerrilla attacks on Israel." Throughout 1968, Fatah and other Palestinian armed groups were the target of a major Israeli Defense Forces operation in the Jordanian village of Karameh, where the Fatah headquarters – as well as a mid-sized Palestinian refugee camp – were located. The town's name is the Arabic word for "dignity", which elevated its symbolism to the Arab people after the Arab defeat in 1967; the operation was in response to attacks against Israel, including rockets strikes from Fatah and other Palestinian militias into the occupied West Bank.
Knowledge of the operation was available well ahead of time, the government of Jordan informed Arafat of Israel's large-scale military preparations. Upon hearing the news, many guerrilla groups in the area, including George Habash's newly formed group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Nayef Hawatmeh's breakaway organization the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, withdrew their forces from the town. Fatah leaders were advised by a pro-Fatah Jordanian divisional commander to withdraw their men and headquarters to nearby hills, but on Arafat's orders, Fatah remained, the Jordanian Army agreed to back them if heavy fighting ensued. On the night of 21 March, the IDF attacked Karameh with heavy weaponry, armored vehicles and fighter jets. Fatah held its ground; as Israel's forces intensified their campaign, the Jordanian Army became involved, causing the Israelis to retreat in order to avoid a full-scale war. By the end of the battle, nearly 150 Fatah militants had been killed, as well as twenty Jordanian soldiers and twenty-eight Israeli soldiers.
Despite the higher Arab death toll, Fatah considered themselves victorious because of the Israeli army's rapid withdrawal. In the late 1960s, tensions between Palestinians and the Jordanian government increased greatly. After their victory in the Battle of Karameh and other Palestinian militias began taking control of civil life in Jordan, they set up roadblocks, publicly humiliated Jordanian police forces, molested women and levied illegal taxes – all of which Arafat either condoned or ignored. In 1970, the Jordanian government moved to regain control over its territory, the next day, King Hussein declared martial law. By 25 September, the Jordanian army achieved dominance in the fighting, two days Arafat and Hussein agreed to a series of ceasefires; the Jordanian army inflicted heavy casualtie
Palestinian People's Party
The Palestinian People's Party, founded in 1982 as the Palestinian Communist Party, is a socialist political party in the Palestinian territories and among the Palestinian diaspora. The original-named Palestine Communist Party had been founded in 1919. After the foundation of the state of Israel and the Jordanian annexation of the West Bank, the West Bank communists joined as the Jordanian Communist Party, which gained considerable support among Palestinians, it established a strong position in the Palestinian trade union movement and retained considerable popularity in the West Bank during the 1970s, but its support subsequently declined. In the Gaza strip a separate Palestinian communist organization was established. In February, 1982, prominent Palestinian communists held a conference and re-established the Palestinian Communist Party; the new party established relations with the Palestine Liberation Organization, joined the PLO in 1987. A PCP member was included in the Executive Committee of the PLO in April that year.
PCP was the sole PLO member not based amongst the fedayeen organizations. The PCP was one of the four components of the Unified National Leadership of the First Intifada, played an important role in mobilizing grassroots support for the uprising; the party, under the leadership of Bashir Barghouti, played an important role in reevaluating Marxism-Leninism as a political philosophy earlier than many other communist organisations in the region. It was renamed in 1991, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, to the Palestinian People's Party, arguing that the class struggle in Palestine should be postponed as the Palestinian people are still waging a struggle of national liberation in which elements of all classes should unite; the renaming reflected a move by the party to distance itself from the image of communism, an ideology perceived as antagonistic to religion in the Muslim world. The party was an enthusiastic advocate of the Oslo Accords. In 2002, the party's general secretary, Mustafa Barghouti left it with some supporters to found the Palestinian National Initiative.
In the January 2005 presidential election, the party's candidate Bassam as-Salhi received 2.67% of the vote. At the Palestinian legislative election, 2006 PPP formed a joint list called Al-badeel for the left wing parties with Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Palestine Democratic Union and independents, it won two of the Council's 132 seats. Bashir Barghouti Hannah Amireh, Abdel Majid Hamadan, Mustafa Barghouti Bassam Al-Salhi Suleiman Al-Najjab, member of the PLO Executive Committee. Palestine Communist Party League of Palestinian Communists www.ppp.ps. Www.mideastweb.org www.globalsecurity.org
Palestinian National Authority
The Palestinian National Authority is the interim self-government body established in 1994 following the Gaza–Jericho Agreement to govern the Gaza Strip and Areas A and B of the West Bank, as a consequence of the 1993 Oslo Accords. Following elections in 2006 and the subsequent Gaza conflict between the Fatah and Hamas parties, its authority had extended only in areas A and B of the West Bank. Since January 2013, the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority uses the name "State of Palestine" on official documents; the Palestinian Authority was formed in 1994, pursuant to the Oslo Accords between the Palestine Liberation Organization and the government of Israel, as a five-year interim body. Further negotiations were meant to take place between the two parties regarding its final status. According to the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority was designated to have exclusive control over both security-related and civilian issues in Palestinian urban areas and only civilian control over Palestinian rural areas.
The remainder of the territories, including Israeli settlements, the Jordan Valley region and bypass roads between Palestinian communities, were to remain under Israeli control. East Jerusalem was excluded from the Accords. Negotiations with several Israeli governments had resulted in the Authority gaining further control of some areas, but control was lost in some areas when the Israel Defense Forces retook several strategic positions during the Second Intifada. In 2005, after the Second Intifada, Israel withdrew unilaterally from its settlements in the Gaza Strip, thereby expanding Palestinian Authority control to the entire strip while Israel continued to control the crossing points and the waters off its coast. In the Palestinian legislative elections on 25 January 2006, Hamas emerged victorious and nominated Ismail Haniyeh as the Authority's Prime Minister. However, the national unity Palestinian government collapsed, when a violent conflict between Hamas and Fatah erupted in the Gaza Strip.
After the Gaza Strip was taken over by Hamas on 14 June 2007, the Authority's Chairman Mahmoud Abbas dismissed the Hamas-led unity government and appointed Salam Fayyad as Prime Minister, dismissing Haniyeh. The move wasn't recognized by Hamas, thus resulting in two separate administrations – the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and a rival Hamas government in the Gaza Strip; the reconciliation process to unite the Palestinian governments achieved some progress over the years, but had failed to produce a re-unification. The PA received financial assistance from the United States. All direct aid was suspended on 7 April 2006, as a result of the Hamas victory in parliamentary elections. Shortly thereafter, aid payments resumed, but were channeled directly to the offices of Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank. Since 9 January 2009, when Mahmoud Abbas' term as President was supposed to have ended and elections were to have been called, Hamas supporters and many in the Gaza Strip have withdrawn recognition for his Presidency and instead consider Aziz Dweik, who served as the speaker of the house in the Palestinian Legislative Council, to be the acting President until new elections can be held.
In November 2012, the United Nations voted to recognize the State of Palestine as a non-member UN observer state. The Palestinian Authority was created by the Gaza–Jericho Agreement, pursuant to the 1993 Oslo Accords; the Gaza–Jericho Agreement was signed on 4 May 1994 and included an Israeli withdrawal from the Jericho area and from the Gaza Strip, detailed the creation of the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian Civil Police Force. The PA was envisioned as an interim organization to administer a limited form of Palestinian self-governance in the Areas A and B in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for a period of five years, during which final-status negotiations would take place; the Palestinian Central Council, itself acting on behalf of the Palestine National Council of the PLO, implemented this agreement in a meeting convened in Tunis from 10–11 October 1993, making the Palestinian Authority accountable to the PLO Executive Committee. The administrative responsibilities accorded to the PA were limited to civil matters and internal security and did not include external security or foreign affairs.
Palestinians in the diaspora and inside Israel were not eligible to vote in elections for the offices of the Palestinian Authority. The PA was separate from the Palestine Liberation Organization, which continues to enjoy international recognition as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, representing them at the United Nations under the name "Palestine". General elections were held for its first legislative body, the Palestinian Legislative Council, on 20 January 1996; the expiration of the body's term was 4 May 1999, but elections were not held because of the "prevailing coercive situation". On 7 July 2004, the Quartet of Middle East mediators informed Ahmed Qurei, Prime Minister of the PA from 2003 to 2006, that they were "sick and tired" of the Palestinians failure to carry out promised reforms: "If security reforms are not done, there will be no international support and no funding from the international community"On 18 July 2004, United States President George W. Bush stated that the establishment of a Palestinian state by the end of 2005 was unlikely due to instability and violence in the Palestinian Authority.
Following Arafat's death on 11 November 2004, Rawhi Fattouh, leader of the Palestinian Legislative Council became Acting President of the Palestinian Authority as provided for
Arabic is a Central Semitic language that first emerged in Iron Age northwestern Arabia and is now the lingua franca of the Arab world. It is named after the Arabs, a term used to describe peoples living in the area bounded by Mesopotamia in the east and the Anti-Lebanon mountains in the west, in northwestern Arabia, in the Sinai Peninsula. Arabic is classified as a macrolanguage comprising 30 modern varieties, including its standard form, Modern Standard Arabic, derived from Classical Arabic; as the modern written language, Modern Standard Arabic is taught in schools and universities, is used to varying degrees in workplaces and the media. The two formal varieties are grouped together as Literary Arabic, the official language of 26 states, the liturgical language of the religion of Islam, since the Quran and Hadith were written in Arabic. Modern Standard Arabic follows the grammatical standards of Classical Arabic, uses much of the same vocabulary. However, it has discarded some grammatical constructions and vocabulary that no longer have any counterpart in the spoken varieties, has adopted certain new constructions and vocabulary from the spoken varieties.
Much of the new vocabulary is used to denote concepts that have arisen in the post-classical era in modern times. Due to its grounding in Classical Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic is removed over a millennium from everyday speech, construed as a multitude of dialects of this language; these dialects and Modern Standard Arabic are described by some scholars as not mutually comprehensible. The former are acquired in families, while the latter is taught in formal education settings. However, there have been studies reporting some degree of comprehension of stories told in the standard variety among preschool-aged children; the relation between Modern Standard Arabic and these dialects is sometimes compared to that of Latin and vernaculars in medieval and early modern Europe. This view though does not take into account the widespread use of Modern Standard Arabic as a medium of audiovisual communication in today's mass media—a function Latin has never performed. During the Middle Ages, Literary Arabic was a major vehicle of culture in Europe in science and philosophy.
As a result, many European languages have borrowed many words from it. Arabic influence in vocabulary, is seen in European languages Spanish and to a lesser extent Portuguese, Catalan, owing to both the proximity of Christian European and Muslim Arab civilizations and 800 years of Arabic culture and language in the Iberian Peninsula, referred to in Arabic as al-Andalus. Sicilian has about 500 Arabic words as result of Sicily being progressively conquered by Arabs from North Africa, from the mid-9th to mid-10th centuries. Many of these words relate to related activities; the Balkan languages, including Greek and Bulgarian, have acquired a significant number of Arabic words through contact with Ottoman Turkish. Arabic has influenced many languages around the globe throughout its history; some of the most influenced languages are Persian, Spanish, Kashmiri, Bosnian, Bengali, Malay, Indonesian, Punjabi, Assamese, Sindhi and Hausa, some languages in parts of Africa. Conversely, Arabic has borrowed words from other languages, including Greek and Persian in medieval times, contemporary European languages such as English and French in modern times.
Classical Arabic is the liturgical language of 1.8 billion Muslims, Modern Standard Arabic is one of six official languages of the United Nations. All varieties of Arabic combined are spoken by as many as 422 million speakers in the Arab world, making it the fifth most spoken language in the world. Arabic is written with the Arabic alphabet, an abjad script and is written from right to left, although the spoken varieties are sometimes written in ASCII Latin from left to right with no standardized orthography. Arabic is a Central Semitic language related to the Northwest Semitic languages, the Ancient South Arabian languages, various other Semitic languages of Arabia such as Dadanitic; the Semitic languages changed a great deal between Proto-Semitic and the establishment of the Central Semitic languages in grammar. Innovations of the Central Semitic languages—all maintained in Arabic—include: The conversion of the suffix-conjugated stative formation into a past tense; the conversion of the prefix-conjugated preterite-tense formation into a present tense.
The elimination of other prefix-conjugated mood/aspect forms in favor of new moods formed by endings attached to the prefix-conjugation forms. The development of an internal passive. There are several features which Classical Arabic, the modern Arabic varieties, as well as the Safaitic and Hismaic inscriptions share which are unattested in any other Central Semitic language variety, including the Dadanitic and Taymanitic languages of the northern Hejaz; these features are evidence of common descent from Proto-Arabic. The following features can be reconstructed with confidence for Proto-Arabic: negative particles m *mā.
Stencilling produces an image or pattern by applying pigment to a surface over an intermediate object with designed gaps in it which create the pattern or image by only allowing the pigment to reach some parts of the surface. The stencil is pattern and the intermediate object. In practice, the stencil is a thin sheet of material, such as paper, wood or metal, with letters or a design cut from it, used to produce the letters or design on an underlying surface by applying pigment through the cut-out holes in the material; the key advantage of a stencil is that it can be reused to and produce the same letters or design. Although aerosol or painting stencils can be made for one-time use they are made with the intention of being reused. To be reusable, they must remain intact after a design is produced and the stencil is removed from the work surface. With some designs, this is done by connecting stencil islands to other parts of the stencil with bridges. Stencil technique in visual art is referred to as pochoir.
A related technique is aerography, in which spray-painting is done around a three-dimensional object to create a negative of the object instead of a positive of a stencil design. This technique was used in cave paintings dating to 10,000 BC, where human hands were used in painting handprint outlines among paintings of animals and other objects; the artist sprayed pigment around his hand by using a hollow bone, blown by mouth to direct a stream of pigment. Screen printing uses a stencil process, as does mimeography; the masters from which mimeographed pages are printed are called "stencils". Stencils can be made with one or many colour layers using different techniques, with most stencils designed to be applied as solid colours. During screen printing and mimeography, the images for stenciling are broken down into color layers. Multiple layers of stencils are used on the same surface to produce multi-colored images. Hand stencils, made by blowing pigment over a hand held against a wall, are found from over 35,000 years ago in Asia and Europe, prehistoric dates in other continents.
After that stenciling has been used as a historic painting technique on all kinds of materials. Stencils may have been used to color cloth for a long time. In Europe, from about 1450 they were used to color old master prints printed in black and white woodcuts; this was the case with playing-cards, which continued to be colored by stencil long after most other subjects for prints were left in black and white. Stencils were used for mass publications. Stencils were popular as a method of book illustration, for that purpose, the technique was at its height of popularity in France during the 1920s when André Marty, Jean Saudé and many other studios in Paris specialized in the technique. Low wages contributed to the popularity of the labor-intensive process; when stencils are used in this way they are called "pochoir". In the pochoir process, a print with the outlines of the design was produced, a series of stencils were used through which areas of color were applied by hand to the page. To produce detail, a collotype could be produced which the colors were stenciled over.
Pochoir was used to create prints of intense color and is most associated with Art Nouveau and Art Deco design. Aerosol stencils have many practical applications and the stencil concept is used in industrial, artistic and recreational settings, as well as by the military and infrastructure management. A template is used to create an outline of the image. Stencils templates can be made from any material which will hold its form, ranging from plain paper, plastic sheets and wood. Stencils are used by official organizations, including the military, utility companies, governments, to and label objects and locations. Stencils for an official application can be customized, or purchased as individual letters and symbols; this allows the user to arrange words and other labels from one set of templates, unique to the item being labeled. When objects are labeled using a single template alphabet, it makes it easier to identify their affiliation or source. Stencils have become popular for graffiti, since stencil art using spray-paint can be produced and easily.
These qualities are important for graffiti artists where graffiti is illegal or quasi-legal, depending on the city and stenciling surface. The extensive lettering possible with stencils makes it attractive to political artists. For example, the anarcho-punk band Crass used stencils of anti-war, anarchist and anti-consumerist messages in a long-term graffiti campaign around the London Underground system and on advertising billboards. There has been a semi-recent trend in making multi-layered stencils with different shades of grey for each layer creating a more detailed stenciled image. Well known for their use of stencil art is Blek le Rat and Jef aerosol from France, British artist Banksy, New York artist, world traveling artist Tavar Zawacki f.k.a.'ABOVE', Shepard Fairey's OBEY, Pirate & Acid from Hollywood, California. A common tradition for stencils is in home decorating and arts & crafts
Palestinian Legislative Council
The Palestinian Legislative Council is the unicameral legislature of the Palestinian Authority, elected by the Palestinian residents of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It comprises 132 members, elected from 16 electoral districts of the Palestinian Authority; the PLC has a quorum requirement of two-thirds, since 2006 Hamas and Hamas-affiliated members have held 74 of the 132 seats in the PLC. The first PLC met for the first time on 7 March 1996. Under the Oslo II Accord, the powers and responsibilities of the PLC are restricted to civil matters and internal security in Area A of the West Bank and Gaza, while in Area B they are restricted to civil affairs and security matters are under the control of the Israel Defense Forces. In Area C, Israel has full control; the election for the second PLC was the last PLC election. Following the Hamas–Fatah split in 2007, the Legislative Council ceased to function; the Palestinian Legislative Council was created by the Oslo Accords and designed in accordance with the provisions of the Oslo II Accord, which dictated its composition and responsibilities in detail.
Detailed provisions regarding elections were set out in Annex II. Oslo II provides that residents of the Palestinian territories may be elected; the PLC has a quorum requirement of two-thirds. There was no time limit on the duration or life of each PLC, nor any provision for filling of casual vacancies. There was no requirement for ministers to be members of the PLC; the powers and responsibilities of the PLC are limited to civil matters and internal security and public order and subject to review by Israel. The PLC is excluded from the negotiations process with Israel; the first Palestinian legislative election took place on 20 January 1996 in accordance with Palestinian Election Law No. 13 of 1995 and its amendments. The law adopted the simple majority system. However, the election was boycotted by Hamas, Fatah won 62 of the 88 seats; the first PLC met for the first time on 7 March 1996. The Council was intended to replace the Arafat/Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority, established as a temporary organ, pending the inauguration of the Council.
However, Arafat never transferred his powers to the PLC. After the resignation of Palestinian Prime Minister, Mahmoud Abbas, on 6 September 2003, the Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Ahmed Qurei became acting Prime Minister. Qurei was Prime Minister from 7 October 2003 to 26 January 2006; the Basic Law was amended in 2003. Under Article 66 of the Amended Basic Law of 2003, the approval of the PLC was required of each new government; the PLC in June 2005 increased the number of PLC members from 88 to 132, with half being elected under a system of proportional representation and half by plurality-at-large voting in traditional constituencies. A further Amended Basic Law of 2005 in August 2005 set a term of four years for the President, who may not serve more than two consecutive terms, of the PLC at four years from the date of election; the second Palestinian legislative election took place on 25 January 2006, which resulted in a decisive victory for Hamas. The second PLC was sworn in on 18 February 2006.
Subsequently, the Hamas government was formed and sworn in on 29 March 2006. The European Union supplied election observers to "assess the whole election process, including the legal framework, the political environment and campaign, electoral preparations and counting as well as the post-election period"; the United States had spent $2.3 million in USAID to support the Palestinian elections designed to bolster the image of President Abbas and his Fatah party. After the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, the Gaza-based Hamas PLC members would meet separately in Gaza, leaving each part of the PLC without a quorum; the PLC has not convened since, awaits a Fatah–Hamas reconciliation. Laws have been made by presidential decree, the legality of, questioned by Hamas, which has refused to recognise such laws and decisions. Following the Hamas takeover of Gaza, President Abbas declared a state of emergency and, by presidential decree, besides other things, suspended the articles of the Amended Basic Law that required PLC approval of a new government.
In September 2007, following the Hamas takeover of Gaza, President Abbas by presidential decree changed the voting system for the PLC into a full proportional representation system, bypassing the dysfunctional PLC. The 2006 election was the last Palestinian legislative election, though under the Basic Law the term of a PLC is four years. Fatah and Hamas had agreed in the 2014 Fatah–Hamas Agreements that the election for the third PLC take place sometime in 2014, but has been postponed because of continuing disagreements between Hamas and Fatah. From the beginning, the PLC was not able to function properly for a number of reasons: Curtailment of freedom of movement In the months following the inauguration, members of the PLC were subjected to restrictions on their freedom of movement by Israel, as reported by human rights group PCHR, they had to obtain a permit from the Israeli authorities for every single travel, valid for short periods and sometimes refused. In 2001, the European Parliament noticed in a resolution that "The Palestinian Legislative Council is more than not hindered from attending the sessions" Isolation from the outer world.
Israel prevents official contacts with the outer world. The visit of members of the European Parliament to Gaza were denied. Israeli interference with the composition of the PLC. Politicians disliked by Israel were, still are, prevented from political activities by arresting them, holding them in