Ahmed Qurei

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احمد علي محمد قريع
Ahmed Ali Mohammed Qurei
Kurei.jpg
Qurei (right) as Prime Minister meeting then-U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell
2nd Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority
In office
October 7, 2003 – December 18, 2005
December 24, 2005 – March 29, 2006
Preceded by Mahmoud Abbas
Nabil Shaath (acting)
Succeeded by Nabil Shaath (acting)
Ismail Haniya
Personal details
Born (1937-03-26) March 26, 1937 (age 77)
Abu Dis, British Mandate for Palestine
Political party Fatah
Religion Sunni Islam

Ahmed Ali Mohammed Qurei (or Qureia; أحمد علي محمد قريع, Aḥmad ʿAlī Muḥammad Qurayʿ), also known by his Arabic Kunya Abu Alaa (أبو علاء, Åbú Oɑláº) (born March 26, 1937) is a former prime minister of the Palestinian Authority. First appointed to the position in October 2003, he tendered his resignation on January 26, 2006, following the defeat of the Fatah party in the Palestinian legislative elections of 2006, and remained in office in a caretaker capacity until 19 February when he was succeeded by Ismail Haniya. During his tenure as prime minister, he has also had responsibility for security matters. He has previously served as speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council and held a variety of significant positions within the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) from the 1970s on.

Early political career[edit]

Qurei was born in Abu Dis (near Jerusalem) in 1937. He joined the Fatah, the largest of the political and military organizations making up the Palestine Liberation Organization, in 1968. As a banker, he used his expertise during the 1970s as the director of the PLO's foreign investment branch and director-general of the PLO's economic branch, helping to make the organization one of the largest employers in Lebanon. He followed Yasser Arafat to Tunis after the PLO was forced to leave Lebanon. As more senior leaders died, Qurei rose to prominence and was elected to the Fatah Central Committee in August 1989.

As a member of the Central Committee, Qurei was instrumental in negotiating the Oslo Accords. Later, at Camp David (July 11 to 25, 2000), he took part in the negotiations with Ehud Barak. He held various posts in the first Palestinian Authority cabinets including Minister of Economy & Trade and Minister of Industry. He was also responsible for a development plan for the Palestinian territories submitted to the World Bank in 1993. He also founded and became director of the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction (PECDAR) in 1993 in order to help garner money from international donors. Soon after, he was elected to the PLC and was elected Speaker in March 2000.

Prime minister[edit]

After the resignation of Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) on September 6, 2003, Palestinian Authority president Yasser Arafat nominated Qurei to fill the post. He said he would only accept the job if Washington "guarantees Israeli compliance with a U.S.-backed peace plan, including a halt to military strikes."

He was appointed by an emergency decree on October 5, 2003, sworn in on October 7, but already on October 12 threatened his resignation due to a dispute with Arafat over control of the security services. The emergency cabinet's term expired on November 4 and Qurei declared that he was willing to lead a new cabinet provided the support of the parliament could be obtained. He obtained this approval on November 12. On July 17, 2004, he submitted his resignation amid growing chaos in the Gaza Strip characterized by the kidnapping of Palestinian security officials, including the Chief of Police for the Gaza Strip and five Frenchmen. Arafat refused to accept his resignation, reportedly drawing a giant 'X' over Qurei's letter of resignation.

After Yasser Arafat granted Qurei control over parts of the security apparatus, one of his requested powers in order to carry out reforms, Qurei retracted his resignation on July 27, 2004 stating: "I am satisfied that President Arafat is serious this time, that it is not just words but that this time there will be action." Arafat had retained control over the bulk of a dozen security services. Ahmed Qurei and other critics claim that these organizations exhibit internal corruption and lawlessness; United States-led mediators have blamed them for preventing the advance of the "Road map for peace". Arafat acted after the Gaza Strip experienced an unprecedented explosion of public unrest and demands for reforms, including elections. [1]

After Arafat's death and Mahmoud Abbas's subsequent victory in the Palestinian presidential election of 2005, Qurei was asked to continue in his post and form a new cabinet. Due to repeated demands by Fatah officials and PLC members to make the new cabinet more reform-minded, the vote of confidence was repeatedly delayed. It was finally passed on February 24, 2005 after Qurei revised the list of ministers to accommodate these demands.

On December 15, 2005 Qurei briefly resigned his Prime Minister post to run for a seat in the Palestinian Parliament, but returned to office nine days later after deciding not to run. On January 26, 2006 Qurei announced his intention to resign following the Fatah party's defeat by Hamas in the parliamentary elections. [2] At the request of PNA President, Mahmoud Abbas, Qurei remained in office in a caretaker capacity until a successor was named.

Later life[edit]

In 2004 Qurei said that if Israel failed to conclude an agreement with the Palestinians, that the Palestinians would pursue a single, bi-national state.[1] In 2012, in an article in Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper, Ahmed Qurei called for Palestinians to reconsider a one-state instead of a two-state solution. He blamed Israel for "burying" or "decapitating" the two-state solution though the building of settlements.[2]

Works (partial list)[edit]

  • Beyond Oslo, The Struggle for Palestine: Inside the Middle East Peace Process from Rabin's Death to Camp David (I. B. Tauris, 2008) Book of political memoirs

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Palestinian PM's 'one state' call". BBC News. January 9, 2004. Retrieved May 5, 2010. 
  2. ^ Khaled Abu Toameh, Qurei calls for reconsidering one-state solution, Jerusalem Post, March 17, 2012.
Political offices
Preceded by
Mahmoud Abbas
Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority
October 2003 – February 2006
Succeeded by
Ismail Haniya
First Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council
March 2000 – 2003
Succeeded by
Rawhi Fattuh