Palestinian Authority

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Palestinian Authority

(PA) or

Palestinian National Authority,

interim self-government body responsible for areas of the West BankWest Bank,
territory, formerly part of Palestine, after 1949 administered by Jordan, since 1967 largely occupied by Israel (2005 est. pop. 2,386,000), 2,165 sq mi (5,607 sq km), west of the Jordan River, incorporating the northwest quadrant of the Dead Sea.
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 and Gaza StripGaza Strip
, (2007 pop. 1,416,543) rectangular coastal area, c.140 sq mi (370 sq km), SW Asia, on the Mediterranean Sea adjoining Egypt and Israel, in what was formerly SW Palestine, now officially administered by the Palestinian Authority.
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 under Palestinian control. The terrritory is officially recognized as Palestine by many nations and international organizations; more than 110 nations have officially recognized Palestinian independence. The PA was authorized by the Oslo Accords (1993) and subsequent Palestinian agreements with Israel, and was established in 1994. As now constituted the PA includes a president, prime minister and cabinet, a legislative council, and security forces; Ramallah is the administrative center.

In 1994 Yasir ArafatArafat, Yasir or Yasser
, 1929–2004, leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the coordinating body for Palestinian organizations, and head of Al Fatah, the largest group in the PLO.
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, the leader of Al Fatah and the Palestine Liberation OrganizationPalestine Liberation Organization
(PLO), coordinating council for Palestinian organizations, founded (1964) by Egypt and the Arab League and initially controlled by Egypt.
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, which was a party to the Oslo Accords, appointed an interim 19-member Palestinian National Authority, under his direction, to administer Palestinian affairs in the areas of self-rule. Under a 1995 accord, self-rule was extended over a two-year period to all major Arab cities and villages in the West Bank, except East Jerusalem.

In 1996 the first Palestinian Legislative Council was elected, with 88 members chosen from the West Bank and Gaza, and Arafat was elected by popular vote as president of the PA. In the first legislative council, Al Fatah, the dominant group in the PLO, had a majority of the seats. Agreements with Israel in the late 1990s gradually increased the area of the West Bank under PA control.

Negotiations with Israel in 2000 proved unfruitful, and widespread violence erupted in the West Bank and Gaza in the fall after the Israeli politician Ariel SharonSharon, Ariel
, 1928–2014, Israeli general and politician, b. Kfar Malal as Ariel Scheinerman. As a teenager he joined the Haganah, the underground Zionist military brigade, and took his Hebrew name from the Sharon Plain, where he worked in 1947.
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 visited the Haram esh-Sherif (or Temple Mount) in Jerusalem. Efforts to resume talks were subsequently largely unsuccessful, stymied by mutual distrust and a cycle of fighting and violence, including suicide bombings by Palestinians and Israeli attacks on PA facilities and reoccupation of Palestinian territory. The continuing growth of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which nearly doubled in population from 1992 to 2001, also proved a major irritant to Arabs and stumbling block to peace.

In Mar., 2003, the legislative council established the post of prime minister, effectively reducing Arafat's powers as president. The appointment to that post of Mahmoud AbbasAbbas, Mahmoud
, 1935–, Palestinian leader, also known as Abu Mazen. He was born in Saffed, Palestine (now in Israel), but his family fled during the 1948–49 Arab-Israeli conflict and lived in Syria. Educated at Damascus Univ.
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—regarded as more moderate than Arafat—and the acceptance by Palestinians and Israelis of the internationally supported "road map for peace" led to a brief reduction in violence and new talks, but the cycle of attacks and reprisals soon resumed. Abbas resigned, and Ahmad Qurei was appointed to succeed him, but Qurei, like Abbas, clashed with Arafat over control of the security forces.

Following Arafat's death in 2004, Rawhi Fattouh became interim Palestinian president until Abbas, who had succeeded Arafat as PLO chairman, was elected president of the PA in 2005. Abbas and Sharon (now Israel's prime minister) subsequently agreed to a truce, and in Mar., 2005, Israeli forces began handing over control of Jericho and other West Bank towns to the Palestinian Authority. Subsequent violence, however, halted and reversed the process. Currently, the PA is responsible for local security and municipal affairs in roughly two fifths of the West Bank.

In 2005 Israel withdrew its forces and settlers from the Gaza Strip, and a few settlements in the N West Bank were also evacuated. In the Palestinian legislative elections in 2006, HamasHamas
[Arab., = zeal], Arabic acronym for the Islamic Resistance Movement, a Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist organization that was founded in 1987 during the Intifada; it seeks to establish an Islamic state in Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip (the former
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 won a majority of the seats in a victory that in part was a rejection of the corruption and failures associated with Al Fatah. The formation of a Hamas government, led by Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, and Hamas's refusal to recognize Israel's right to exist led to tensions with President Abbas and the cutoff both of much Western aid and taxes and duties collected for the PA by Israel, creating a financial crisis. There was also jockeying for the control and allegiance of PA security forces between the president and Hamas political leaders.

The politically unsettled situation continued into early 2007, when Hamas and Al Fatah agreed to form a national unity government; the tensions between the two groups at times erupted into violence. When Hamas guerrillas captured an Israel soldier in June, 2006, Israel invaded the Gaza Strip and arrested several dozen PA leaders, mainly Hamas politicians, in the West Bank. The 2007 power-sharing agreement did not restore U.S. and EU direct aid to the PA, as Hamas continued to refuse to recognize Israel.

Subsequent clashes in the Gaza Strip between Hamas and Al Fatah led in June to Hamas's seizing control of the territory. Abbas accused Hamas of an attempted coup, dismissed the government, and appointed a government that did not include Hamas. The United States, Israel, and others subsequently released aid and other funds to the new government. The PA was effectively divided into two territories and two governments as a result of the event, with Hamas in control in Gaza and Al Fatah in the West Bank. In 2009 the PLO voted to extend Abbas's PA presidency indefinitely when it and Hamas could not agree on an election date; Hamas rejected the move to little effect. Attempts to reestablish a unified government were unsuccessful until May, 2014, when a technocratic unity government was formed in advance of new elections planned for 2015 under a pact signed the previous April. Tensions between the PLO and Hamas, however, continued, and the unity government, which existed only formally, was dissolved in June, 2015, and elections were not held. Negotiations led in 2017 to a preliminary deal between Hamas and Al Fatah to return the Gaza Strip to PA control, but progress on that agreement had stalled by early 2018 and tensions later increased.

In 2011 the PA unsuccessfully sought recognition from, and full membership in, the United Nations as part of its wider drive for international recognition in the face of stalled peace negotiations with Israel, but in 2012 it received de facto recognition as independent Palestine from the UN General Assembly. It also was admitted to membership in the International Criminal Court in 2015. Peace negotiations, meanwhile, have not progressed. The U.S. recognition in 2017 of Jerusalem as Israel's capital was denounced by Abbas and other PA leaders.

References in periodicals archive ?
Sources in Jenin Governorate confirmed the incident claiming that, contrary to the norm, the Israelis might not have coordinated their incursion with the Palestinian National Authority this time.
Mahmoud Abbas, leader of the Palestinian National Authority, spoke by telephone on Thursday with Gaza's Hamas premier Esmail Haniya and congratulated him on his "victory," according to a Hamas statement.
"Donors do need to act urgently in the face of a serous fiscal crisis facing the Palestinian National Authority (PNA)," said Mariam Sherman, World Bank Country Director for the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Palestinians say their salaries can't keep up with the rising price of living and blame Fayyad for the economic policies of the Western-backed Palestinian National Authority, which has partial self-rule over Palestinians in the West Bank.
Presidency Spokesperson Nabil Abu Rdeina denied Friday reports saying the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) has withdrawn a draft resolution concerning the Goldston report before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.<p>He said the postponement of adopting a resolution on the report that accuses Israel of committing war crimes during its aggression on the Gaza Strip, was upon a demand from the U.S.A, Russia and Europe with consensus with other groups in the Council.
| KUWAIT, Nov 30 (KUNA) -- His Highness the Amir of Kuwait sent Friday a cable of congratulations to Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on the occasion of upgrading Palestine status to an observer non-member state at the UN.
Palestinian official in charge of Israeli settlements activities at the Palestinian National Authority Ghassan Douglas, said that settlers from Gilead settlement set up ambushes for vehicles near the town of Hawara and threw stones at them.
Ramallah The Israeli forum of eight senior ministers yesterday approved the transfer of frozen Palestinian tax revenues to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).
Summary: Jeddah, April 21, 2010, SPA -- The Minister of Hajj, Dr Fouad bin Abdulsalam Al-Farsi met here today with Palestinian Hajj mission led by Minister of Endowments and Religious Affairs of Palestinian National Authority Mahmoud Sidqi Abdulrahman Al-Habbash.
The Israeli settlement policy is carving parts of the occupied Palestinian territories on a daily basis, he said, apparently referring to the quest of the Palestinian National Authority for UN recognition of statehood unilaterally without agreement with Israel.
The agreement was signed by Minister of Finance Umayyah Touqan and Ambassador of the Palestinian National Authority in Amman Atallah Khairi.
The Haaretz said the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) has offered the US a temporary deal where the PNA would freeze all moves at the UN and would not apply to achieve full membership at the various UN agencies until the end of January 2012.

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