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Ahmed Qurei (Abu Alaa)

(1937 - 2023)

Ahmed Qurei (also known as Abu Alaa) is a Palestinian politician and diplomat.

Qurei has served as Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority as well as the speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council. Qurei was previously the Palestine Liberation Organization's "money-man" who ran Samed, the industrial and investment fund which for years underpinned the movement's finances. Qurei was one of three PLO leaders who met secretly with Israelis in Norway to hammer out the Oslo accords, which paved the way for the first interim peace deal between the two sides in 1993. He was also involved in the peace talks at Camp David in July 2000. He was later involved in the Taba talks in January 2001.

Qurei, from a wealthy family in Abu Dis, near Jerusalem, is not popular among ordinary Palestinians, who view him as an aristocrat. He gave up a banking career in 1968 to join Fatah. He became a member of the Central Committee of Fatah in 1989. He is the replacement for Yasser Arafat in the case of death or injury until a new election is organized.

In early September 2003, after the resignation of Abu Mazen, Qurei was appointed by Arafat as the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority.

On July 17, 2004, Qurei resigned “because of a series of internal and external issues that developed in the recent period,” according to a statement from his office. He specifically cited the deteriorating security situation in Gaza. He held the job for 10 months and was unable to carry out reforms and root out corruption as demanded by the Quartet in part because Arafat retained the presidency and virtually all power in the Palestinian Authority. On July 20, Qurei told Arafat he would stay in his post, but only temporarily in a caretaker capacity, and that his resignation would stand unless Arafat yielded more power to the Cabinet.

Qurei remained in his post and was reappointed Prime Minister by Arafat's successor, Mahmoud Abbas, in January 2005. He held the post until Hamas won the election in 2006.

He died on February 22, 2023. 

Sources: MSNBC, (December 6, 2001).
AP, (July 18 & 20, 2004, February 23, 2023).