Ziad Abu Amr

(1950- )


Born 1950, Gaza City. Dr. Abu Amr is married with four children.

Cabinet Position

Minister of Culture

Cabinet Responsibilities

Promotion of culture in Palestine.

Education

BA in English Literature and Language, Damascus University, Syria
MA and PhD. Comparative Politics, Georgetown University

Background

Dr. Abu Amr has been teaching political science at Birzeit University, Ramallah, West Bank since 1985. He has published several books and papers, the most internationally known is "Islamic Fundamentalism in the West Bank and Gaza: Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic Jihad."

In 1996, he was elected to the Palestine Legislative Council (PLC) as an independent to represent Gaza City. He is the Chairman of the Palestine Legislative Council's Political Committee. In 2003, he was nominated to be the Minister of Culture in the new Palestinian Authority cabinet. He is a member of an independent party.

Dr. Abu Amr is associated with the Palestine Center in Washington; he is the President of the Palestinian Council of Foreign Relations; and the Deputy Secretary-General of MIFTAH, a Palestinian civil rights organization.

Analysis

Dr. Abu Amr is a reform minded politician who has mentored and shares philosophies with the "young guard" of Palestinian elected leaders (elected leaders in the PLC who oppose the "old guard" PLO revolutionaries who are loyal to Yasser Arafat).. He has, at times, been critical of the Palestinian Authority administration and security services. He has called for open elections. Dr. Abu Amr is popular with young, reform minded Palestinians.

Dr. Abu Amr is a proponent of democratic elections and has suggested Hamas and Islamic Jihad be allowed representation as opposition groups. He believes they would then be more accountable for their actions.

Dr. Abu Amr has been quoted as saying that Sept. 11 is not the only reason the Bush administration has given the Sharon government the "green light" to deal firmly with the Palestinians. He believes the "…suicide bombings…may also have something to do with it." His comments may be interpreted by some as a criticism of suicide bombings’ value as a negotiating tool.

Dr. Abu Amr is viewed as a likely ally of Prime Minister Abu Mazen.


Sources: Asia Times, (Sept. 11, 2002); PalestineCenter.org, (July 1, 2002); USEmbassy.state.gov, (July 3, 2002); al-Bab.com; MiddleEastReference.org, Palestine Media Center