The Palestinian National Archive Law


The workshop was opened by Dr. Asem Khalil, Director of IALIIS, who welcomed the speakers and emphasized the importance and objectives of this workshop, hoping that the outcome of which would be taken into consideration and complies with the national interest. He also indicated the danger of passing this law which would restrict the freedom of viewing documents relating to “public interest”. In addition to the loopholes of legislating this law, whereby the adaptation of this law would be passed directly through the president without passing through the legal processes for legislating such laws, including the Palestinian legislative Council. Dr. Asem asserted that law is supposed to organize freedom not restrict it. Mr. Nassra warned from the danger of imposing the content of this law through organizing legislative regulations in a way which maneuvers the legislative council from the executive council.

During his commentary on the subject, Mr. Ahmed Nassra completely refused the project of this law, even if it was approved by the legislative council, he considers it an attack on freedoms and is incompatible with the principle of transparency and other rights such as, the right of private and public ownership. He emphasized how law consists of large concepts; it does not present a clear definition which explains the limitations of what’s allowed from what’s prohibited in concepts such as “public interest”, which increases the imposed restriction on freedoms.

From his side, Mr. Mahmoud Alawni illustrated that this law leans toward imposing more restrictions rather than towards organizing them. This policy which stands behind the suggestion of this unknown project keeps the destiny of private archives vague. He also spoke of the proposed suggestions concerning the decision of including amendments, deletion, or adding to some of its articles. Moreover, Mr. Alwani claimed that this project excludes local institutions that works in the archive field from mutual cooperation with the national archive and limits its cooperation with international and regional institutions. Furthermore, he referred to a number of provisions which conflict with rights preserved in Palestinian law such as,  the right of private ownership which should not be removed, in addition to the issue of university independency.

In the end, the participants of this workshop unanimously stressed on the importance of forming a pressure group from institutions working in the archive field, to oppose the adoption of this legal project which affects the freedom of viewing  and publishing documents.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012 - 13