Main Palestinian negotiators

Key Palestinian politicians featuring in The Palestine Papers.



    Saeb Erekat

    Role: Chief negotiator, Palestinian Authority




    Erekat has served as a Palestinian negotiator since the early 1990s, and has been the chief negotiator of the Palestinian Authority (PA) for the last two years.

    He first attained prominence in the early 1990s, when he represented the PA at the Madrid Conference and negotiated the Oslo Accords. He has taken part in every major negotiation since, including the Camp David summit in 2000 and the Taba summit the following year.

    Erekat occurs in these documents more frequently than anyone else: He represents the Palestinian Authority at 116 meetings with Israeli, American and European officials, and is involved with dozens of e-mails, internal memos and reports.

    Erekat lives in the West Bank city of Jericho. He was educated in the United States and the United Kingdom.

    Ahmed Qurei

    Role: Former prime minister; former Palestinian Authority chief negotiator


    Qurei served as the Palestinian prime minister from 2003 until early 2006, when his Fatah party was defeated by Hamas in parliamentary elections. During his tenure in office, he clashed with then-president Yasser Arafat over control of the Palestinian security forces.

    The majority of these documents cover the period after Qurei left office, when he assumed the role of the Palestinian Authority's chief negotiator. He is one of the PA's chief interlocutors with the Israelis, appearing often alongside Saeb Erekat in meetings during the Annapolis process in late 2007 and 2008.

    By the end of 2008, his role is greatly diminished; his last appearance comes in a September 2008 meeting with Israeli general Udi Dekel. The Palestine Papers suggest that his reduced status was the result of political infighting within the PA.

    Qurei was born in the Jerusalem suburb of Abu Dis, and has been a member of the Fatah party since the 1960s. He spent time living in exile with Arafat in Beirut and Tunis. Qurei was heavily involved with the Madrid Conference and the negotiations that led up to the Oslo Accords.

    Maen Areikat

    Role: Chief Representative of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) mission to the United States


    Areikat was born October 1960, in the West Bank town of Jericho to an influential Palestinian family.

    At the age of 18, Areikat left his birthplace for the US, where he received a BS in Finance from Arizona State University (ASU) in 1983, and later on an MBA in management from Western International University in 1987.

    After his return to Palestine in 1992 Areikat began working with Dr Hanan Ashrawi, the official spokeswoman of the Palestinian Delegation to the Peace Talks with Israel.

    He also joined the Orient House, the headquarters of the Palestinian Team to the Peace Talks, and, from 1993-1998, took part in Palestinian-Israeli negotiations on permanent status issues.

    Areikat became the Director-General of the Negotiations Affairs Department of the PLO in Ramallah in 1998. In this position, he supervised the Negotiations Support Unit, which provides legal, policy, communication and technical support to the Palestinian Negotiating Teams.

    In May 2009, Areikat joined the PLO Mission to the US. Palestine does not maintain an embassy in the US; however, the PLO does operate a mission in Washington DC where Areikat serves as chef de mission.

    Areikat’s name first appears in the Palestine Papers on April 10, 2001, when he receives a memorandum from the Washington lobbying firm Bannerman & Associates with a list of deadly incidents in Israel conducted by Palestinians.

    Mohammed Dahlan

    Role: Former leader of Fatah in the Gaza Strip and, since August 2009, an elected member of the Fatah Central Committee.



    His reputation as a Palestinian strongman - with corruption allegations and links to foreign intelligence services - make him one of the most controversial Palestinian politicians of his time.

    He became (in)famous for his leading role in a failed CIA-funded coup attempt against the Hamas-led government in Gaza in 2007.

    Born to a refugee family in Gaza in 1961, Dahlan grew up under Egyptian, and later Israeli, control. He entered politics as a teenager and in 1981 helped to establish the Gaza branch of the Fatah Youth Movement.

    He was jailed 10 times by Israel for his leading role in the movement and learned to speak Hebrew fluently during his time in prison.

    After the signing the Oslo Accords in 1993, Dahlan was chosen to head the Preventive Security Service in Gaza where he built up a force of 20,000 men. His forces made him a powerful figure, dealing regularly with the CIA and Israeli intelligence officials.

    His soldiers were accused of torturing Hamas prisoners throughout the 1990s, allegations Dahlan denies. During this period Gaza was nicknamed "Dahlanistan" due to his far-reaching power. At the end of Yasser Arafat's reign, Dahlan was seen as his potential successor, but infighting and corruption allegations marred his candidacy.

    In March 2007, Dahlan was appointed by Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, to lead the newly re-established Palestinian National Security Council, overseeing all security forces in the Palestinian territories.

    A month after the Hamas takeover in the Gaza Strip, he resigned from his post. Many in Fatah blame Dahlan for the rapid collapse of their forces in Gaza in the face of a Hamas offensive that lasted less than a week.

    Dahlan is seen by the Israelis as someone they could do business with, something that is reaffirmed in the Palestine Papers.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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