Palestinian National Authority

The Palestinian National Authority (PA or PNA; Arabic: السلطة الوطنية الفلسطينية as-Sulṭa al-Waṭanīya al-Filasṭīnīya), commonly known as the Palestinian Authority and officially the State of Palestine,[4] is the Fatah-controlled government body that exercises partial civil control over West Bank areas "A" and "B" as a consequence of the 1993–1995 Oslo Accords.[1][5][6] The Palestinian Authority controlled the Gaza Strip prior to the Palestinian elections of 2006 and the subsequent Gaza conflict between the Fatah and Hamas parties, when it lost control to Hamas; the PA continues to claim the Gaza Strip, although Hamas exercises de facto control. Since January 2013, the Palestinian Authority has used the name "State of Palestine" on official documents, although the United Nations continues to recognize the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) as the "representative of the Palestinian people".[7]

Palestinian National Authority
السلطة الفلسطينية الوطنية
as-Sulṭa al-Waṭanīya al-Filasṭīnīya
The Palestinian Authority exerts partial civil control in 167 islands in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip
The Palestinian Authority exerts partial civil control in 167 islands in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip[1]
Administrative centerRamallah
31°54′N 35°12′E
Largest cityGaza
31°31′N 34°27′E
Official languagesArabic
TypeProvisional self-government body
Mahmoud Abbas
Mohammad Shtayyeh
LegislatureLegislative Council
Partial delegation of civil powers 
from Israeli administration
13 September 1993
29 November 2012
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 Summer (DST)
Date formatdd/mm/yyyy
Calling code+970
ISO 3166 codePS

The Palestinian Authority was formed in 1994, pursuant to the Gaza–Jericho Agreement between the PLO and the government of Israel, and was intended to be a five-year interim body. Further negotiations were then 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 (referred to as "Area A") and only civilian control over Palestinian rural areas ("Area B"). The remainder of the territories, including Israeli settlements, the Jordan Valley region and bypass roads between Palestinian communities, were to remain under Israeli control ("Area C"). 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 then lost in some areas when the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) retook several strategic positions during the Second ("Al-Aqsa") 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[8] while Israel continued to control the crossing points, airspace, and the waters of the Gaza Strip's coast.[9]

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 effectively collapsed, when a violent conflict between Hamas and Fatah erupted, mainly 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 Palestinian Authority received financial assistance from the European Union and the United States (approximately US$1 billion combined in 2005). All direct aid was suspended on 7 April 2006, as a result of the Hamas victory in parliamentary elections.[10][11] Shortly thereafter, aid payments resumed, but were channeled directly to the offices of Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank.[12] 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, the speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, to be the acting president until new elections can be held.[13][14]

The State of Palestine has become recognized by 138 nations and since November 2012, the United Nations voted to recognize the State of Palestine as a non-member UN observer state.[15][16][17] The Palestinian Authority is an authoritarian regime that has not held elections in over 15 years; it has been criticized for human rights abuses, including cracking down on journalists, human rights activists, and dissent against its rule.[18]

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