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Who are the members of the new Palestinian government?

May 19, 2009 10:22 P.M. (Updated: May 7, 2010 11:59 A.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - President Mahmoud Abbas swore in an expanded cabinet in Ramallah on Tuesday 19 May 2008.

Most of the ministers are members of Abbas' Fatah party, although Fatah's parliamentary bloc did not endorse the government. Independents and members of third parties are also represented. Hamas' government in Gaza will remain in place.

Prime Minister

Salam Fayyad (Third Way - Independent)

An economist with a PhD from the University of Texas, Fayyad is considered a moderate and heavily favored by the US and Europe. He worked for eight years for the World Bank in Washington, and was the International Monetary Fund (IMF) representative to Palestine. He later served as finance minister in the Fatah-controlled government from 2002-2005.

Appointed as prime minister of the emergency government following the Hamas takeover of Gaza. Fayyad was credited for cracking down on corruption and bringing in international aid. Fayyad is also loathed by Hamas, who see his tenure as unconstitutional. However he did lobby the US and Europe to end their aid boycott of the 2007 Hamas-Fatah unity government. Fayyad is a political independent originally from the West Bank city of Tulkarem.

New Ministers

Khaled Al-Qawasmi - Minister of Local Government

A former lecturer at Al-Quds University, he also served as Minister of local government in the ninth Palestinian government (2005-2006).

Hatem Abdul Qader (Fatah) - Minister of State for Jerusalem Affairs

Abdul Qader was Fayyad's advisor on Jerusalem affiars and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council from Jerusalem. In 1996 he caused a stir by opening an office in Jerusalem to serve his constituents. Then Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Abdul Qader of violating the Olso accord. He is often the public face of the Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem, a place where it is banned from operating by Israel. He is a member of the Fatah Higher Committee.

Hassan Abu Libdeh (Fatah) - Secretary-General of the Cabinet

A former minister of planning and former head of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Abu Libdeh was the driving force behind the 2008 Palestine Investment Conference in Bethlehem, a centerpiece of Fayyad's neoliberal, free market approach to the Palestinian economy.

Sa'adi Al-Krunz (Fatah) - Minister of Transportation

Originally from Deir Al-Balah in the Gaza Strip, Al-Krunz served as minister of transportation in the Fifth Government in 2003, and Minister for Industry from 1998 to 2002. With a PhD from Purdue University in the US, he was the chair of the mathematics department at Al-Azhar University in Gaza and later the Islamic University. He was also elected as a Fatah PLC member for Deir Al-Balah.

Mohammad Shtayyeh (Fatah) - Minister of Public Works and Housing

Shtayyeh was managing director of the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction (PECDAR, an institution tasked by the Palestinian Authority to supervise donor-financed projects) and a founding member of the Palestinian Development Fund. He has been active in the Hamas-Fatah unity negotiations.

Sa'id Abu Ali (Fatah) - Minister of the Interior

A leading Fatah member who worked with late president Yasser Arafat for 22 years and was appointed as Nablus governor and then as Ramallah Governor following Arafat's death. Born in Jenin, he holds a PhD in International Organizations from the French Toulouse University and a PhD in Political Science from University of Tunis and has been a member of Fatah since 1972. Appointed by Abbas to a nine-member commission investigating "failure to confront the armed mutiny that was executed by the militias of Hamas Movement in Gaza Strip."

He was active in the Fatah military wing for many years. He worked as director of planning and information at Fatah office in Tunis until his return to Palestine following the signing of the Oslo Accords. He taught at the Palestinian universities of Birzeit, Al-Azhar and Al-Quds. He is married and has four children.

Ismail Deiq (Independent) - Minister of Agriculture

Commonly affiliated with the Palestinian People's Party (PPP), D'eiq insists he acts as an independent. The PPP was one of the parties that boycotted the new government. D'eiq was born in 1958 in the village of Al-Oja and holds a PhD in Agricultural Science from Germany. He held the post of director at the Agricultural Relief Committees for many years. He is married and has three children.

Bassem Khoury (Fatah) - Minister of the National Economy

Was born in Jordan in 1960 and carries a PhD in Industrial Pharmacology from the United States. Khoury was head of Board of Directors of Dar Ash-Shifa and head of the General Federation of Palestinian Industries. A Ramallah-based businessman in the pharmaceutical industry, he founded Pharmacare in the 1990s and served as the company's CEO. The company was the first to ship pharmaceuticals to Europe, a highly regulated market, and Khoury continues to push Palestinian goods to compete internationally. He is married and has three children.

Maher Ghneim (Fatah) - Minister of State

Was born in Amman, Jordan in 1960. He held post of undersecretary of public works and housing in the 13th PA government and worked in the past at the Economic Department and in several institutions in the Arab countries. Ghneim holds a B.Sc in Civil Engineering. He is married and has two children.

Ali Al-Jarbawi (Independent) - Minister of Planning and Development

Was born in Jenin in 1954 and holds a PhD in Political Science (Comparative Studies). Al-Jarbawi worked as professor of political science at Birzeit University and as director of the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights between 1997 and 2000, then as director of the Ibrahim Abu Lughod Institute for International Studies between 2000 and 2004. He then became general secretary of the Central Elections Commission for two years and Director of the Law Institute at Birzeit University between 2005 and 2007. He also worked as international expert for the UNRWA in 2001.

Siham Al-Barghouthi (Fida) - Minister of Women's Affairs

Al-Barghouthi began her political career as a member of the DFLP and was a member of its Central Committee then a member of its politburo. She split from the party when Fida was formed, and was one of the founding members. She is now general secretary of the Fida Party.

Al-Barghouthi was arrested a handful of times by Israeli troops and spent 2.5 years in the Israeli prisons. She was born in Hebron in 1948 and holds a BA in commerce, majoring in accounting, and worked as general director in the Local Government Ministry for ten years administering the rural development program.

Majda Al-Masri (DFLP) - Minister of Social Affairs

Is a member of the DFLP politburo and was in charge of the Nablus branch of the DFLP. She is a member of the Palestinian National Council and a member in the Board of the General Union of Palestinian Women. Al-Masri was born in Haifa in 1947 and participated in many DFLP activities abroad. She returned to the country after the signing of the Oslo Accords; she is a mother of five children and resides in Nablus.

Ahmad Al-Majdalani (PPSF) - Minister of Labor

Ahmad Majdalani is a member of the Palestinian Popular Struggle Front (PPSF) and of the PLO National and Central Councils. A professor of philosophy and cultural studies at Birzeit University, he is a former cabinet minister in the Palestinian Authority.

Reappointed from previous government

The following officials served in Fayyad's caretaker government (13th and 14th governments) appointed following the Hamas takeover of Gaza in the summer of 2007:

Riyad Al-Maliki (formerly PFLP) - Minister of Foreign Affairs

Formerly the minister of information and foreign affairs in the 13th Palestinian government, he is the coordinator of the Arab Program to Support and Develop Democracy, holds a PhD in Civil Engineering. Linked historically with the PFLP, which as a party refused to join the government.

Mahmoud Al-Habbash (Independent) - Minister of Waqf and Religious Affairs

Formerly Minister of Agriculture and Social affairs, Habbash was affiliated with Hamas until 1994 when he left the movement and became an independent. He is from the Nuseirat Refugee Camp in Gaza and worked as professor at the Al-Quds Open University. He holds a master's degree in Islamic studies.

Khuloud Deibes (Independent) - Minister of Tourism

Was Minister of women's affairs and tourism in 13th and 14th governments, and headed the Ministry of Tourism in the 2007 unity government. Deibes held the post of general director of the center preserving cultural heritage in Bethlehem, where she is from. She worked as a tourism lecturer at Bethlehem University and holds a PhD in Architecture from Hanover University in Germany.

Ali Khashan (Independent) - Minister of Justice

Khashan held the same post in the 13th Palestinian government. He holds a PhD in Constitutional Law and participated in drafting the Palestinian Press Law and Social Affairs Law. He helped found the College of Law at Al-Quds Open University and was dean of the college from 1992-2002. He was then appointed as Secretary of the committee to prepare the Palestinian constitution. He was born in Jerusalem.

Fathi Abu Moghli (Independent) - Minister of Health

Abu Moghli was the minister of health in the 13th Palestinian Government; he was appointed director of international projects and coordination of financing international projects in the Health Ministry in 1998 and in 1999 as director of the project to develop the Palestinian health system funded by the World Bank. In 2004 he was appointed as director of health programs in the World Health Organization's Palestine Office. He was born in Nablus and studied in Jordan.

Mashhour Abu Daqqa (Independent) - Minister of Telecommunications

Formerly minister of transport in the 13th Government, Abu Daqqa was born in Gaza and holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. He worked for several years in scientific research institutes in Britain and as general director of the Information Systems Union "BETA." He has advised the UNDP, and the Palestinian Telecommunications and Information Technology Ministry. He has taught at Birzeit University in Ramallah.

Lamis Al-Alami (Independent) - Minister of Education

She held the same post in the previous government. She is also general director of the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizens Rights and a member in boards of several organizations, such as the Arab Studies Society, Women Center for Legal and Social Counseling, the Central Elections Commission, Faisal Husseini Institute, and Al-Quds Open University. Al-Alami began her career as an UNRWA school teacher and eventually became head of education for all schools and colleges of UNRWA (100 schools and three colleges) until she retired in 2004. She was born in Jerusalem and studied English literature in Beirut and Scotland.

Refused to join

Two PLC members refused to join the government when the Fatah bloc decided not to back the new Fayyad cabinet.

Rabiha Diabborn 1954 in Ramallah, was arrested in 1976 and sentenced to a year and a half imprisonment with two and half years suspended. Said to have contacts with Palestinian resistance groups, she is a member of the Association of Women Committees for Social Work. She claims that Israel denied her leave from the occupied territories to attend the Madrid peace conference in 1991 because of her involvement in the Palestinian national movement.

Issa Qaraqe (Fatah)

Tapped as minister of prisoners affairs. Qaraqe is an expert in prisoner's issues from Bethlehem.

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