The Palestinian Authority is a semi-autonomous entity which controls most of the Palestinian population in Judea and Samaria. The Palestinian Authority was established in 1994 by virtue of agreements signed as part of the Oslo process between Israel and the PLO. Formally, the Palestinian Authority also controls the Gaza Strip, but in reality it lost control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007 when Hamas violently took control. Since Yasser Arafat’s death, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) has headed the Palestinian Authority.
The Palestinian Authority’s status under Yasser Arafat was severely damaged by the Palestinian terrorist campaign (the Al-Aqsa, or Second Intifada, 2000 until 2005). Israel asserted that it failed to function since it did not fight against terrorism and even played an active role in organizing and funding terrorist attacks against Israelis. Israel ended cooperation with it and most Palestinian Authority activities came to a standstill.
After the end of the Second Intifada, Arafat’s death and his succession by Abu Mazen, Israel changed its policy towards the Palestinian Authority and the relations between them improved. Today, the Palestinian Authority controls area A in Judea and Samaria and enjoys partial cooperation with Israel, mainly in terms of security and administration. In the territories under its control, the Palestinian Authority operates through its security services, in coordination with Israel, to maintain internal order and prevent terrorist attacks. At the same time, the Palestinian Authority supports “popular resistance” (popular terrorism), providing political and even practical backing to acts of violence taking place as part of this kind of terrorism.
Many countries around the world give the Palestinian Authority some sort of recognition as a political entity, although most of them do not recognize it as a sovereign state. Some of them formalized their diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority and promoted their representatives to the status of ambassadors. On November 29, 2012, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 67/19 by a large majority. The resolution granted the Palestinian Authority a status of an observer state, which is not a full member.