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History of the Delegation for relations with Palestine (DPAL)

The European Parliament's first delegation for Palestine was created in November 1993 as an ad hoc delegation, after the Oslo accords were signed by the Israeli government and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

Following the emergence of the Palestinian Authority in 1994, a "standing" - that is, permanent - Delegation for relations with the Palestinian Legislative Council (DPLC) was set up on 12 December 1996.

The Delegation was renamed "Delegation for relations with Palestine (DPAL) on 9 September 2015, after the European Parliament's recognised Palestinian statehood on 17 December 2014.

The European Parliament's political groups have previously explored the possibility of creating a single, separate delegation responsible for managing relations with Israel and the Palestinian territories. However, the idea has been ruled out.

Palestinian Legislative Council history

The activities of the Delegation are linked to those of its Palestinian partner, the country's national parliament: the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). In turn, The PLC's troubled history mirrors that of the Palestinian territories as a whole.

The 132-seat Legislative Council was established in 1996 with the first Palestinian parliamentary elections. The Members of this first legislature remained in office for 10 years - far beyond their legal term of four years, as the second intifada broke out.

Elections for the second Legislative Council were held in 2006, with Hamas winning 74 out of 134 seats.
The resulting Hamas-led government quickly fell apart, and the Palestinian territories were split between the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

Gaza has been under blockade since 2007 and has experienced three punishing conflicts with Israel since 2008.

The Fatah-Hamas split and the blockade have effectively rendered the Palestinian Legislative Council inoperative since 2007. A large number of its members have also been held in detention in Israel over the years.
Attempts to create a reconciliation government, which would lead to the reactivation of the PLC, have so far failed.

Call for unity and elections

In carrying out its mandate of parliamentary diplomacy through regular visits to the Palestinian territories, DPAL has emphasised the need for unity in Palestine and called for fresh elections to be held to restore the democratic legitimacy of the Palestinian leadership.

The European Parliament has urged elections in its resolutions, including in its most recent election on achieving the two-state solution. In that text, the Parliament urges Palestinian forces to resume reconciliation efforts without delay, notably through by holding of the long-overdue presidential and legislative elections.
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