Palestinian Authority changes name to State of Palestine

NEW YORK (JTA) — The Palestinian Authority officially changed its name to the State of Palestine.

P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas decreed Friday that the name would be changed to reflect the recent upgrade of the Palestinians’ status at the United Nations, The Associated Press reported.

Palestinian stamps, signs and letterheads will be changed to reflect the change, according to Wafa, the Palestinian news agency.

Last November, the U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly passed a resolution upgrading Palestine’s status to "non-member observer state." The following month, U.N. organizations began referring to Palestinian officials as representatives of the State of Palestine.

The Palestinian Authority was created in 1994 as part the Oslo peace accords and was intended to be the foundation of a fully fledged Palestinian state. The outbreak of the second intifada in 2000 brought talks with Israel to a halt, and since then the P.A.’s status had not changed.

In 2005, Fatah, a political faction within the Palestinian Authority associated with Abbas and the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, was ousted from the Gaza Strip by rival Hamas. While the Palestinian Authority continues to claim sovereignty over the coastal territory from its seat in Ramallah, the Fatah-led organization has little real authority there.

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