Palestine is a land with a rich history and
a tradition of hospitality. Situated at the crossroads between
Africa, Europe and the Middle East, Palestine is a unique blend of languages,
cultures and beliefs. It is also home to some of the most significant
religious monuments in the world. The following sections describe
the sociopolitical characteristics of the country, and what one
can expect when doing business in this vibrant, emerging market.
Palestine at a Glance
Business and Culture
||Palestinian National Authority
||350 Days of Sunshine
Winter: High: 16°C , Low: 7°C
Summer: High: 27°C Low: 15°C
|Population* in west bank and Gaza strip:
|Principal Cities*: (Population)
Gaza City: 551,832
Ramallah & Al-Bireh: 310,218
English (population generally conversant)
French, German, Hebrew, Italian, and Spanish are widely spoken
(15-54 age range)*:
Real GDP (2011 USD millions)**
Real GDP (2011 USD)**
Real GNI (2011 in USD millions) **
GNI per capita (2011 USD) **
|New Israeli Shekel (NIS) Jordanian Dinar (JD) US Dollar(USD)
|* Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics
|** source: Palestinian Monetary Authority Depending on Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) and Ministry of Finance (MoF) data
The overall Palestinian business community
is marked by its entrepreneurial nature. Given the nature
of the business environment here and a history of reliance
on Israel for many goods and services, almost every business
established in Palestine will have a niche market of
needs to fulfill.
In addition, returning Palestinians from the US, Europe and around
the world have become accustomed to a certain level of professionalism
and a certain quality and standard of goods. These standards and needs
are becoming visible as the number of ISO certified businesses are
Many owners of large enterprises have international contacts and experience.
In the past, business development and trade were directed towards Europe
and the Gulf, more recently however local entrepreneurs have been turning
to North America for partnerships, joint ventures and technical expertise.
All this said, Palestinians are extremely hospitable people, and it
would be unheard of not to make a guest feel welcome in our country.
It is very much the norm to discuss plans and opportunities over a
cup of strong Arabic coffee or mint tea, or to be invited to dinner
at a family home, or out to a restaurant for a meal. Also, politics
are very much the topic of the day and if you want local insight, all
you have to do is ask.
Pay no attention to what is said of the Palestinians on the news, we
really are a generous, welcoming people with a strong drive to build
A prosperous Palestine truly is the strongest first step towards a
lasting Just peace in the region.
Language & dress:
The majority of Palestinian business people speak English, but it is
advisable when negotiating contractual and legal documents to employ
the services of a reliable translator, and/or a local attorney, to
assist with the deal.
Palestinians tend to dress formally for business, usually in western
business suits. In non-business situations men and women tend to dress
with an eye towards conservatism.
Business cards are always
exchanged and appointments can be made on short notice.
The official work week is Sunday – Thursday. This varies by the firm; some take the Friday off, others are closed on Sunday.
Palestine is an autonomous, secular, nation with a democratically
elected government. The process of institutional development
began with the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993. These
accords established the Palestinian National Authority as
the executive representative of the Palestinian Liberation
Organization (PLO). The Oslo agreement defines the interim
rules of administration and authority during the period leading
up to a final status agreement with Israel.
The status of Palestine during this period is defined in the
Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government (DOP),
signed in Washington in September 1993. In the agreement, the
Palestinian National Authority is defined geographically as
the self-ruled territories, and administratively as the two
main organizations, the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC)
and the Council of Ministers.
With respect to sovereignty during the interim period, the
occupied territories are divided into three different areas
according to the level of Palestinian authority. Israel maintains
external security in all three areas.
|Area "A" covers
all Palestinian urban areas where the PNA has full
autonomy. The PNA is responsible
for administration and enforcement of the law on all
levels. This includes civilian and police powers.
|Area "B" covers
Palestinian rural areas where the PNA has civilian
jurisdiction but no police powers.
Israeli and Palestinian police patrol together
|Area "C" includes
Israeli settlements, military areas and open areas.
These areas are under complete
Palestinian Governmental Structure (2009)
The Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) is the representative
legislative body, or parliament of Palestine. It is a unicameral
legislative council comprised of the President, elected
to a 4-year term by direct popular vote, and 132 members,
directly elected on a multi-member constituency basis.
The current President, Mahmoud Abbas, became President of the palestinian National Authority on January 2005.
The Council of Ministers reports to the PLC. Due to the
geographical separation between Gaza and the West Bank
1.5 hours by car), each ministry maintains two offices
and two staffs for the time being.
Palestinian National Authority
Mr. Mahmoud Abbas elected by the Palestinian people
in the West Bank, Gaza strip, and East Jerusalem
Position appointed by the President. Current Prime Minister Dr. Salam Fayyad
Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC)
One Hundred Thirty Two members elected by Palestinian popular vote
in the West Bank, Gaza strip and East Jerusalem
The Palestinian legal system is currently in the process of
being modernized. For this process to be valid and all-encompassing,
it is naturally going to take some time. Once the draft laws
have been drawn up, each piece of legislation will call for
ratification with the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC)
At present the legal environment in the West Bank and
Gaza Strip represents a conglomeration of a variety of
laws imposed upon the areas by historical rulers. The current
series of laws being established will add new layers, modernize
and unify the existing laws, and establish new laws where
Considerable international assistance in the form of technical
expertise and financial aid is being provided in order
to both speed up the process, and ensure the new laws are
just and effective in the long-term. The process of defining
a new legal system for a nation in its infancy is even
at the best of times, a rightly drawn out process.