The new Palestinian cabinet

The Palestinian parliament has approved a new government after Prime Minister Ahmad Quraya bowed to lawmakers' demands to bring in mostly new faces to replace members of Yasir Arafat's old guard.

    Quraya won approval for his list after three delays this week

    The following is some biographical information on those in key positions and the list approved by parliament.

    Ahmad Quraya: Prime Minister

    Also known as Abu Ala, Quaraya became prime minister in 2003 when his predecessor and now President Mahmud Abbas resigned after losing a power struggle with Yasir Arafat.

    Appointed by Arafat, he has faced criticism from lawmakers for too few concrete steps toward reforms.

    Nabil Shaath: Deputy Premier and Information Minister


    A stalwart of the dominant Fatah movement and Arafat loyalist, Shaath has been involved in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks since the early 1990s. He moves from his former post of foreign minister.


    The former business professor has a large publishing and management consultancy based in Egypt. He is from a refugee family forced out from what is now Israel during the 1948 Middle East war. 

    Muhammad Dahlan: Civil Affairs Minister 

     

    A former security chief who led the Palestinian Authority's only significant crackdown on resistance fighters after a series of bombings in 1996. 

    A close ally of Abbas, the 43-year-old Dahlan is part of a younger generation of Palestinian leaders who have demanded reforms to security forces and to stop corruption. 

    Dahlan, who has become increasingly important as a negotiator with Israel and played a key role in earlier talks, learned fluent Hebrew in an Israeli jail. 

    A native of the refugee camp of Khan Yunus, Dahlan commands a wide power base of followers in the Gaza Strip but wields less clout in the West Bank. 

    Nasir al-Qidwa: Foreign Minister

     

    A nephew of Yasir Arafat, al-Qidwa served as the head of the Palestine Liberation Organisation's mission to the United Nations.

     

    He was close to Arafat's bedside when the veteran Palestinian leader died in a Paris hospital in November. 
     

    Salam Fayyad: Finance Minister

     

    Fayyad is a former International Monetary Fund official credited with trying to bring transparency to Palestinian finances and curb official corruption.

     

    He was recruited by Arafat under US pressure for financial reforms in 2003 and has been in the cabinet ever since. 

     

    Nasir Yusuf: Interior Minister


    Major-General Nasir Yusuf is a former head of security forces in the West Bank and Gaza who is regarded as a tough commander. He played a big role in the 1996 arrests of resistance fighters. Yasir Arafat had blocked his appointment to the cabinet, preferring senior Fatah official Hakam Balawi.

     

    The most senior military man to leave exile after interim peace accords with Israel in the 1990s, Yusuf was critical of Arafat and was marginalised under the late president's rule.

     

    Yusuf was favoured by Abbas to take the interior ministry during his short spell as prime minister in 2003, but Arafat rejected the appointment. He is expected to lead security reforms demanded by the international community.

     

    Walid Abd Rabbu - Agriculture Minister

    Farid al-Jallad - Justice Minister

    Muhammad Ishtayya - Public Works and Housing Minister

    Thihni al-Wihaida - Health Minister

    Hind Khuri - Minister of State

    Yahya Yakhluf - Culture Minister

    Hasan Abu Libda - Labour and Social Affairs Minister

    Sabri Saidam: Telecommunications Minister

    Sufyan Abu Zayda: Prisoner Affairs Minister

    Saad al-Din Khurma: Local Government Minister

    Zahira Kamal: Women's Affairs Minister

    Sakhr Bisaisu: Youth and Sport Minister

    Mazin Sunnuqrut: Economy Minister

    Ahmad Majdalani: Minister without Portfolio

    Khalid al-Qawasma: Minister without Portfolio

    Naim Abu al-Humus: Education Minister

    Ghassan al-Khatib: Planning Minister

    Ziyad Bandak: Tourism Minister

    SOURCE: Agencies


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