? ? ?
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|
October 7, 2003 - January 18, 2005
December 24, 2005 - March 29, 2006
|Mahmoud Abbas |
Nabil Shaath (acting)
|Nabil Shaath (acting) |
|Born||March 26, 1938|
Abu Dis, British Mandate for Palestine
Ahmed Ali Mohammed Qurei (or Qureia; ? ? ?, A?mad ?Al? Mu?ammad Quray?), also known by his Arabic kunya Abu Alaa ( ?, Ab? ?Alá?) (born March 26, 1938) is a former Prime Minister of the Palestinian National 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 2006 Palestinian legislative election, and remained in office in a caretaker capacity until 19 February when he was succeeded by Ismail Haniyeh. 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.
Qurei was born in Abu Dis (near Jerusalem), Mandatory Palestine, in 1938. 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. Qurei was elected as the Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council on 7 March 1996 in Gaza.
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.
After the resignation of Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) on 6 September 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 10 September. 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" Qurei decided upon that to form a full government rather than a trimmed one.
Qurei could not form a new cabinet because of a dispute with Arafat about the choice of an interior minister. 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.
On 5 October 2003, Qurei was appointed Prime Minister by presidential decree and an eight-member emergency government was sworn in on 7 October, but already on 12 October, he threatened to resign because of 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 PLC refused to hold a vote of confidence. The emergency cabinet's term expired on 4 November and Qurei declared that he was willing to lead a new cabinet provided the support of the parliament could be obtained. On 12 November, the PLC approved a 24-member government.
On 17 July 2004, he submitted his resignation amid growing chaos in the Gaza Strip. 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. Arafat refused to accept Qurei's resignation. 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. On 27 July 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 24 February 2005 after Qurei had revised the list of ministers to accommodate these demands.
On 15 December 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 26 January 2006 Qurei announced his intention to resign following the Fatah party's defeat by Hamas in the parliamentary elections. At the request of PNA President, Mahmoud Abbas, Qurei remained in office in a caretaker capacity until a successor was named.
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. 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.