At 85, Ahmed Qureia, a former Palestinian prime minister and one of the creators of temporary peace agreements with Israel, passed away.
Qureia, a significant figure in the 1993 Oslo peace agreements, saw the growth of the dream of a Palestinian state during the negotiations.
However, the likelihood of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue has been eroding for more than he had anticipated. Domestically, Qureia’s reputation was tarnished by numerous corruption allegations.
On Wednesday, Qureia’s passing was announced by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Qureia had a heart issue and had been suffering from illness for some time, though the reason for death was not immediately disclosed.
Using Qureia’s moniker, Abbas said, “Abu Alaa stood in the forefront defending the causes of his home and people” in a statement published by the official Wafa news agency.
Qureia, born in 1937 and the occupied West Bank neighborhood of Abu Dis near east Jerusalem, joined the Fatah movement in 1968.
Under the direction of the organization’s founder, the late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, he advanced through the ranks fast and joined the Central Committee, which made decisions for the organization, in 1989.
Also, he was a part of the PLO Executive Committee.
Qureia served as the leader of the Palestinian delegation to Oslo when protracted negotiations with Israel resulted in the 1993 peace accords that established the Ramallah Authority and autonomous regions in the Palestinian territory.
He met with all Israeli prime ministers who held positions before 2004 during subsequent negotiations with Israelis, including Yitzhak Rabin, Ariel Sharon, Shimon Peres, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Ehud Olmert, as well as U.S. Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
In the three decades since the accords, peace negotiations have broken down. Israel increased settlement construction in the West Bank and imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip after the Islamist militant group Hamas ousted Fatah-aligned forces and seized power there.
Once more, violence erupts between the parties.
In a 2013 interview with the Associated Press to commemorate 20 years since the Oslo agreements, Qureia claimed he wouldn’t have accepted the deals if he had known then what he knows today.
With these kinds of settlement blocs? No. with Jerusalem’s abolition? No. Not at all,” Qureia stated in an interview conducted at his workplace in the Abu Dis neighborhood of Jerusalem.
Qureia led the Palestinian Legislative Council after winning a seat in the first parliamentary elections held in 1996 following the creation of the PA.
Qureia succeeded Abbas as the PA’s first prime minister after he resigned in 2003.
He remained in office until 2006 when the Islamist Hamas faction won the second round of Palestinian elections by an overwhelming margin.
A revelation that Qureia’s family had stock in a company that provided Egyptian cement to Israel, which that country then used to construct the West Bank separation barrier, caused controversy during Qureia’s time as prime minister.