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Ahmed Qurei [Abu Ala]

Ahmed Qurei, also known as Abu Ala, was born in the Abu Dis area near Jerusalem in 1937. Qurei joined the PLO in the late 1960s and was an early member of Fatah, but he did not begin to play a major political role until the 1970s. While living in Lebanon, he headed production operations for the PLO, which employed around 6,500 and generated almost $40 million per year. When Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982, Qurei fled to Tunis with Yasser Arafat.

Along with Saeb Erekat and several other Palestinian leaders, Qurei helped negotiate the Oslo Accords of 1993, which showed his increased status within the Palestinian leadership. He also took part in negotiating the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1994, and also was the primary architect of the "Programme for Development of the Palestinian National Economy" in the same year.

In January 1996, Qurei was elected in Jerusalem to the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), where he served as the Speaker for several years. After Mahmoud Abbas resigned as Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority in September 2003, Qurei was Arafat's chosen replacement. Qurei reportedly does not have strong popular support among Palestinians and the PLO.

Following Arrafat's death, the Palestinians presented a united front, selecting Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia and his predecessor, Mahmoud Abbas to temporarily assume Mr. Arafat's duties. Mr. Queria took the reins of the Palestinian Authority, the self-governing entity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip established 10 years ago by the Oslo Peace accords. Mr. Abbas assumed Arafat's other two leadership positions, head of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Fatah political movement.

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