The Palestinian National Authority (PA) & Fath
The word Fath is commonly spelled and pronounced in English as ‘Fatah.’ But the correct spelling is Fath—pronounced ‘Fateh.’ Fath is a reverse acronym in Arabic of Harakat Tahrir Filastin, or “the Palestinian Liberation Movement.” There are two reasons for reversing the name. First, hatf in Arabic means “sudden death.” Second, one of the meanings of the word fath is “conquering”— a term that associates the movement with the times Islam spread throughout the region by waging military campaigns in the seventh century.
Fath was established in Kuwait in 1959.
In 1964, Egypt created the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), a network of various Palestinian organizations to counter the power of Fath.
However, by 1969 Fath had taken over the PLO. Yasser Arafat, one of the founders of Fath, became the chairman of the PLO. And Fath became the major Palestinian organization in the PLO.
The 1993 Oslo Accords created the Palestinian National Authority (PNA or PA) as a semi-state entity. According to Oslo, the PA is the Palestinians’ interim governing body in the West Bank and Gaza until a final agreement is signed between Israel and the Palestinians.
Formally, the Palestinian Authority is not recognized as a state.
However, in practice, it has functioned as a state since it was established in 1994, and it governs parts of the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority rules the overwhelming majority of Palestinians in the West Bank.
The Palestinian Authority includes other PLO groups, but Fath is the largest party and is the PA’s backbone.
In October 2005, Israel completed its unilateral evacuation of all settlers and settlements from the Gaza Strip.
Upon leaving Gaza, Israel handed control of the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority. Yet, the PA’s rule over Gaza did not last long.
In June 2007, Hamas violently overthrew the Palestinian Authority’s government in Gaza. Since then, Hamas has ruled the Gaza Strip.
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