Ahmed Qurei

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احمد علي محمد قريع
Ahmed Ali Mohammed Qurei
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 78)
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), Mandatory Palestine, 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.[1] 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, Qurei became as Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council acting Prime Minister. Palestinian Authority president Yasser Arafat nominated Qurei for the post of Prime Minister. Qurei accepted the nomination for the post of PM in an "emergency government" on September 10.[2][3] The next day, the Israeli government, apparently in response to bombings two days earlier, released a statement, announcing the decision that President Arafat would be "removed"[4] Qurei decided upon that to form a full government rather than a trimmed one.[5]

Qurei could not form a new cabinet because of a dispute with Arafat about the choice of an interior minister.[6] He said he would only accept the position if he had guarantees that Israel would comply with its obligations under the Road map for Peace plan. Israel's non-compliance and the United States not having done enough to enforce Israeli compliance with the peace plan, along with a lack of internal support, had been reasons for Abbas' earlier resignation.[7][8]

On October 5, 2003, Qurei was appointed Prime Minister by an emergency decree[9] and an eight-member emergency Cabinet was sworn in on October 7,[10] but already on October 12, he threatened with his resignation due to a dispute with Arafat over control of the Palestinian Security Services. While the Fatah Central Committee had agreed to the emergency Cabinet with Qurei as caretaker prime minister, the Fatah-dominated Parliament refused to hold a vote of confidence.[11] 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. On November 12, the PLC approved a 24-member government. [6][8]

On July 17, 2004, he submitted his resignation amid growing chaos in the Gaza Strip.[12] Offices of the Palestinian authority in Gaza were burned down, and gunmen briefly abducted 4 French aid workers, the police chief and another official, demanding reforms.[13] Arafat refused to accept Qurei's resignation.[14] Arafat and Qurei disputed on Qurei's demand for more authority to restructure the security forces to reduce the growing turmoil. President Arafat decreed a State of Emergency in Gaza.[13] On July 27, Arafat and Qurei held a press conference after reaching a settlement in a cabinet meeting. Qurei had retracted his resignation.

After Arafat's death and Mahmoud Abbas' 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.[15] 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.[16] 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.[17]


  1. ^ Architect of Self-Rule Apparently Leaves Arafat's Government. New York Times, 18 September 1994
  2. ^ US Warning As Qurei Accepts PM's Role. Sky News, 10 September 2003
  3. ^ Tom Lansford,Political Handbook of the World 2014, p. 1631 (last para but one). CQ Press, March 2014.
  4. ^ Excerpts: Israeli security cabinet statement. BBC, 11 September 2003
  5. ^ Israeli Cabinet Votes to Expel Arafat, but Delays Action. PBS, 11 September 2003
  6. ^ a b In the News-New Palestinian Government. Voice of America, 15 November 2003.
    "Mister Qureia was speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council. He became acting prime minister in September. He could not form a cabinet, however, because of a dispute with Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat. Mister Qureia had threatened to resign when Mister Arafat would not approve his choice of interior minister. The dispute lasted ten weeks"
  7. ^ Palestinian PM Post A Hot Potato. Ellen Crean, CBS/AP, 9 September 2003
  8. ^ a b New Palestinian government approved. CNN, 12 November 2003.
  9. ^ Presidential Decree No. ( ) of 2003. JMCC, archived 15 December 2003
  10. ^ The PA Ministerial Cabinet List—Emergency Cabinet October 2003 - November 2003. JMCC. Archived on 5 September 2006
  11. ^ Palestinian designate: Future as PM uncertain. CNN, 12 October 2003
  12. ^ Arafat denies he is facing crisis. BBC, 24 July 2004
  13. ^ a b State Of Emergency Declared In Gaza. Sky News, 18 July 2004
  14. ^ Arafat refuses Qorei resignation. Sapa-AFP, 18 July 2004
  15. ^ Palestinian PM to quit after poll. BBC, 26 January 2006
  16. ^ "Palestinian PM's 'one state' call". BBC News. January 9, 2004. Retrieved May 5, 2010. 
  17. ^ Khaled Abu Toameh, Qurei calls for reconsidering one-state solution, Jerusalem Post, March 17, 2012.

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

External links[edit]

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