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The glossary is comprised of nearly 250 terms related to the Israeli-Palestinian context. Given the rapidly shifting landscape, these terms cannot capture the full range of nuances, narratives and historical events. This tool is meant as a starting point and we encourage you to continue your exploration of this topic through further research. Last update and review: September 2015.

Palestinian Authority

Also known as the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). The Palestinian Authority (PA) was established in 1994 to serve as a five-year interim governing body in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as part of the Oslo Process, until the Final Status issues were settled. The peace process collapsed during the onset of the Second Intifada and the "interim" governing body still exists twenty years after it was formed. As leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Yasser Arafat became the PA Chairman in 1994 and held the position until his death in 2004. Fatah was historically the dominant party in both the PLO and the PA. The PA's authority was significantly limited by the agreements signed with Israel during the Oslo Process, giving it full jurisdiction over only a small portion of the West Bank known as Area A. The PA was granted observer status in the United Nations in 1974. In 2012, the status was upgraded to non-member observer state, despite opposition from the U.S. and Israel. After Hamas won a majority in the 2006 PA legislative elections, a unity government was formed that included Hamas and Fatah. In 2007, however, Hamas pre-empted an American-backed Fatah coup in the Gaza Strip, resulting in the Hamas-Fatah conflict, Hamas controlling Gaza and PA President Mahmoud Abbas's establishment of a new Fatah-dominated government in the ". After years of failed unity talks, Hamas and Fatah signed a unity agreement in April 2014, but the 2014 Gaza war and events since have delayed its implementation. Critics claim that the PA is corrupt, and functions as a subcontractor of the Israeli occupation, focusing on self-enrichment/consolidation of power and Israeli security rather than Palestinian freedom. See "Permanent Observer Mission of The State of Palestine to the United Nations." See also "A Palestinian Authority steeped in paralysis and corruption," Hasan Abu Nimah, The Electronic Intifada, June 28, 2015; and "A Decade After Arafat's Death, Palestinians Reflect on the Leadership that Followed Him," Alice Speri, Vice News, Nov 11, 2014.