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Palestinian Leaders


The following Palestinian Leaders have been selected because of their standing within the Palestinian Authority (PA), the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and/or Hamas. The PLO was recognized as "the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian People" by the Arab League in 1974, and it has maintained this status with one exception. In 1993, the Oslo Declaration of Principles established the PA, which remains the executive and legislative body within the autonomous areas of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Hamas became the majority party by winning 56% of the Palestinian Legislative Council's seats in the January 2006 Palestinian legislative election. The PLO and the PA (of which Hamas is the majority party), are currently the only organizational bodies possessing the authority to legitimately represent the Palestinian People domestically and internationally.

Below, we describe each individual's "Positions" within the various organizations (such as President, Prime Minister, Member, etc.), as well as a list describing their key "Involvement" in major events of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

See our comparison chart of the PA and the PLO.

LEADERS
(in alphabetical order)
- Yasser Arafat
- Hanan Ashrawi
- Marwan Bin Khatib Barghouti
- Mustafa Barghouti
- Mohammed Dahlan
- Saeb Erekat
- Salam Fayyad

- Ismail Haniya
- Khaled Mashaal
- Ahmed Qurei
- Abdel Aziz Rantissi
- Nabeel Shaath
- Sheikh Ahmed Ismail Yassin
- Mahmoud Al-Zahar


MAHMOUD ABBAS


Positions
 
- President, Palestinian Authority (PA), as of January 9, 2005
- Member, Palestine National Council, 1968-
- Member, PLO Executive Committee, 1980-
- Prime Minister, PA, 2003
- Member, Fatah Central Committee, 1964-2003
- Founding member of Fatah, 1957

Involvement
 
  • 1991 Madrid Conference (Palestinian delegation)
  • 1993 Oslo Declaration (Signer)
  • 1995 Oslo Interim (Signer)
  • 2000 Al-Aqsa Intifada
  •  
    YASSER ARAFAT (1929 - 2004)


    Positions
     
    - Chairman, Palestine Liberation Organization PLO 1969-2004
    - President, Palestinian Authority (PA) 1996-2004
    - Founder/President, Fatah 1958-2004

    Involvement
     
  • 1967 War
  • 1970 Black September
  • 1982 War in Lebanon
  • 1993 Oslo Declaration
  • 1994 Cairo Agreement
  • 1995 Oslo Interim
  • 1998 Wye River
  • 1999 Sharm al-Sheikh
  • 2000 Camp David
  • 2000 Al-Aqsa Intifada
  • 2001 Taba Talks
  • Will Yasser Arafat's absence from Palestinian politics help advance the peace process?
  • Will Arafat be remembered for advancing the interests of the Palestinian People?
  • Timeline: Important Dates in the Life of Yasser Arafat
  •  
    HANAN ASHRAWI


    Positions
     
    - Elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), Jerusalem District, 1996-present
    - Minister of Higher Education and Research, Palestinian Authority (PA), 1996-1998
    - Offical Spokesperson of the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East Peace Process, 1991-1993
    - Member of the Intifada Political Committee, serving as well on its Diplomatic Committee, 1988-1993

    Involvement
     
  • 1987 Intifada
  • 1991 Madrid Conference (Palestinian delegation)
  • 1993 Oslo Declaration
  •  
    MARWAN BIN KHATIB BARGHOUTI


    Positions
     
    - Organizer and Leader of the Tanzim, Fatah's militant wing, and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades during the 2000 Al Aqsa Intifada
    - Elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), Independent, 1995, Fatah, 2006-
    - Secretary General of Fatah in the West Bank, 1994

    Involvement
     
  • 1987 Intifada (Organizer and leader in the West Bank)
  • 2000 Al-Aqsa Intifada
  •  
    MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI


    Positions
     
    - Minister of Information, Palestinian Authority (PA), 2007-
    - Elected member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Independent Palestine (Third Way), 2006-
    - Candidate in the election for PA President (after the death of Arafat), 2005

    Involvement
     
  • 1991 Madrid Conference (Palestinian delegation)
  •  
    MOHAMMED DAHLAN


    Positions
     
    - Chief of the Palestinian National Security Force, March, 2007-
    - Palestinian Minister for Civil Affairs, Palestinian Authority (PA), 2006-
    - Re-elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council as Representative for Khan Younis Refugee Camp, 2006-
    - Minister of Security Affairs, PA, 2003

    Involvement
     
  • 1987 Intifada (Activist)
  • 1998 Wye River
  • 2000 Camp David
  • 2000 Al-Aqsa Intifada
  • 2001 Taba Talks
  •  
    SAEB EREKAT


    Positions
     
    - Head, PLO Negotiations Affairs Department, 2003
    - Palestinian Legislative Council member (representing Jericho), 1996-2003

    Involvement
     
  • 1991 Madrid Conference (Palestinian delegation)
  • 2000 Camp David
  • 2001 Taba Talks
  •  
    SALAM FAYYAD


    Positions
     
    - Minister of Finance, Palestinian Authority (PA), 2002-2006
    - Prime Minister, Palestinian Authority (PA), 2007-


     
    ISMAIL HANIYA


    Positions
     
    - Prime Minister, Palestinian Authority (PA), 2006-
    - Senior Member of the Hamas Political Bureau, 1996-

    Involvement
     
  • 1987 Intifada (Activist)
  • 2000 Al-Aqsa Intifada
  •  
    KHALED MASHAAL


    Positions
     
    - Co-Founder and Chairman of Hamas, 1996-
    - Senior Member of the Hamas Political Bureau, 1996-

    Involvement
     
  • 2000 Al-Aqsa Intifada
  •  
    AHMED QUREI


    Positions
     
    - Prime Minister, Palestinian Authority (PA), 2003-2006
    - Member, Fatah Central Committee, 1989-
    - Speaker, Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) 1996-
    - Minister of Economy and Trade, PA
    - Minister of Industry, PA

    Involvement
     
  • 1991 Madrid Conference
  • 1993 Oslo Declaration
  • 1995 Oslo Interim
  • 2000 Camp David
  • 2001 Taba Talks
  •  
    ABDEL AZIZ RANTISSI (1947-2004)


    Positions
     
    - Spiritual Head of Hamas upon the assassination of Sheikh Yassin, Mar. 22, 2004 - Apr. 17, 2004
    - Named Political and Military Head of Hamas upon the assassinations of Salah Shehadeh and Ibrahim Macadma, 2002 - Apr.17, 2004
    - Founding member of Hamas, 1987
    - Joined the Muslim Brotherhood, 1976

    Involvement
     
  • 1987 Intifada (Activist)
  • 2000 Al-Aqsa Intifada
  •  
    NABEEL SHAATH


    Positions
     
    - Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Information, Palestinian Authority (PA)
    - Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, PA
    - Acting Prime Minister of the PA, 15 Dec. 2005 - 24 Dec. 2005 - Minister of Foreign Affairs, PA, 2003-
    - Member, National Security Council, PA, 2003
    - Member, Palestinian Legislative Council, Khan Younis, 1996
    - Member, Fatah Central Committee, 1987
    - Member of the PLO since 1969
    - Member, Palestinian Negotiations Committee, 1995

    Involvement
     
  • 1991 Madrid Conference (Palestinian delegation)
  • 1994 Cairo Agreement
  • 1995 Oslo Interim
  • 2000 Camp David
  • 2001 Taba Talks
  •  
    SHEIKH AHMED ISMAIL YASSIN (1937-2004)


    Positions
     
    - Co-founder and spiritual leader of Hamas, 1987-2004

    Involvement
     
  • 1987 Intifada
  • 2000 Al-Aqsa Intifada
  •  
    MAHMOUD AL-ZAHAR


    Positions
     
    - Co-founder and leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, 1987-
    - Former Foreign Minister of the Palestinian Authority (PA), 2006-2007

    Involvement
     
  • 1987 Intifada
  • 2000 Al-Aqsa Intifada
  •