The Palestinian Authority

Authored by: Nigel Parsons

The Routledge Handbook on the Israeli–Palestinian Conflict

Print publication date:  November  2012
Online publication date:  March  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415778626
eBook ISBN: 9780203079553
Adobe ISBN: 9781136160691


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The concept of the Palestinian Authority (PA) took shape in negotiations leading to the 1993 Israel–Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Governing Arrangements, through which the PLO was mandated to form a semi-autonomous Palestinian Interim Self-Governing Authority (PISGA) responsible for limited administration of the indigenous population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Article VII noted that

Upon the entry into force of this Declaration of Principles and the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the Jericho area, a transfer of authority from the Israeli military government and its Civil Administration to the authorized Palestinians for this task, as detailed herein, will commence.

The interlude between conclusion of the Declaration and PLO redeployment the following year saw the PISGA morph into the Palestinian Authority; the PLO inserted the word ‘national’ into the Arabic title, but Israel insisted on its absence from the authoritative English version. The revised title granted the new body a measure of historical resonance by drawing upon the ten-point ‘phased political programme’ adopted in 1974 by the twelfth session of the PLO's quasi-legislature in exile, the Palestine National Council. Couched in the language of the time, but understood to indicate movement towards a two-state solution, point 2 of the plan called for the establishment of a ‘people's national, independent and fighting authority on every part of Palestinian land that is liberated’ (Gresh 1988: 168). The decision to adopt the title was ratified by the PLO Central Council on 10 October 1993 (Parsons 2005: 125).

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