Operation Iron Swords (Updated to 1 p.m., December 6, 2023)

During the past day, IDF forces continued to attack Hamas terrorist strongholds in Jabalia and Shejaiya. IDF fighters surrounded the Khan Yunis area and entered the center of the city. Hamas claimed that during almost two months of war, Israel had made no significant achievements, given the scope of the military campaign it was waging against the Gaza Strip.Hamas continues to state that there will be no negotiations without a ceasefire and that the terms of the negotiations for the return of the soldiers will be different from those for the return of the women and children.The Palestinians report that the situation continues to deteriorate, especially regarding medical care. IDF activities led many Gazans to concentrate in the Rafah area in the southern Gaza Strip, where the mosques were opened to house the evacuees.Hezbollah continued attacking IDF positions on the Lebanese border. IDF fire killed one Lebanese army soldier and wounded three. The IDF apologized for the incident. Hezbollah and al-Jama'a al-Islamiyya, a Palestinian terrorist organization operating in Lebanon, attacked in response.

The Palestinian Authority

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.