Palestinian National Authorityby Adam Woog, Arthur Goldschmidt (Contribution by)
For more than 50 years, the conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis for a piece of land about the size of Vermont has commanded constant media attention throughout the world. Created in 1994 to govern Palestinian-populated areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) is an autonomous organization that has complete control over civil matters in Palestinian areas but shares powers relating to government affairs. After the death of PNA president Yasir Arafat in 2004, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon began a unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip. Shortly thereafter, Hamas, a group viewed as a terrorist organization by the West, was victorious in the Palestinian legislative elections and replaced Fatah as the leading party of the Palestinian people.
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