Queria, Ahmed

(Abu Ala)
(1937- )
   Born in 1937 in the village of Abu Dis near Jerusalem, this Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official served as long-time director of finances for Yasser Arafat. He participated in contacts with Israeli officials during the 1991 Madrid Middle East Peace Conference as a member of the official Palestinian delegation. He began the unofficial discussions in Europe with Israeli academics Yair Hirschfeld and Ron Pundik that evolved into the Oslo Accords of September 1993 and headed the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction (PECDAR) established in 1993 ostensibly to channel international development assistance to infrastructure projects in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In April 1994, Queria headed the negotiations for the Paris Agreement on Economic Relations between the Autonomous Palestinian Territories and Israel. In September 1994, he resigned from his position as trade and economics minister in the Palestinian Authority (PA), reportedly to protest Yasser Arafat's refusal to share power. Arafat refused to accept the resignation, and Queria retained the cabinet portfolio until January 1996, when he was elected a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and speaker of the PLC. He negotiated the Oslo Interim Agreement in September 1995.
   Queria was appointed prime minister of the PA upon the resignation of Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) in September 2003. He was nominated head of a new emergency cabinet of eight members by Arafat on 5 October 2003. It was largely during his tenure that the Palestinian public, including elements of Fatah, began to openly challenge both the PLO and the PA with regard to governmental inefficiency and corruption. Queria threatened to resign more than once when Arafat would not give him control over security and the powers needed to implement much-needed political reforms, but he did not carry out those threats. According to the PA's Draft Basic Law, Queria, as prime minister, was the second in the order of succession, after Arafat. When Arafat became ill in October 2004, Queri took temporary control over the PA while Abbas took over Arafat's responsibilities with the PLO. However, in January 2005, it was Abbas who ran for and won the election to permanently succeed Arafat as PA president, with Queria retaining the prime ministership. After Hamas succeeded in gaining control of the Palestinian legislature, Queria was replaced as prime minister but remained a prominent member of the Palestinian leadership.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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