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Saeb Muhammad Salih Erekat

Shimon Peres, Saeb Erekat captured at a sessio...
Saeb Muhammad Salih Erekat (also Erakat or ArekatArabicصائب عريقات‎ Ṣāʼib ʻUrayqāt or ʻRēqāt) born April 28, 1955, in Jordanian-controlled East Jerusalem,[1][2] was the Palestinian chief of the PLO Steering and Monitoring Committee until 12 February 2011. He negotiated the Oslo Accords withIsrael and remained chief negotiator from 1995 until May 2003, when he resigned in protest from the Palestinian government. He later reconciled with the party and was re-appointed to the post in September 2003.

Personal life and education

Saeb Erekat was born on April 28, 1955 in Abu Dis East Jerusalem,[3][4] then under Jordanian rule. Erekat is one of seven children, with his brothers and sisters living outside of Israel or the Palestinian Territories.[5] Erekat received a BA and MA in Political Science at San Francisco State Universityin the United States, and completed his Ph.D. in Peace and conflict studies at Bradford UniversityEngland.[1] He is married with twin daughters and two sons.
On 8 May 2012 he was hospitalized in Ramallah after suffering a heart attack.[6]


Career

After gaining his doctorate in peace studies at Bradford, Erekat returned to the West Bank town of Nablus to lecture in Political Science at An-Najah National University and also served for 12 years on the editorial board of the widely-circulated Palestinian newspaper, Al-Quds.[1][7]


Politics

In 1991, Erekat was deputy head of the Palestinian delegation to the Madrid Conference and the subsequent follow-up talks in Washington between 1992 and 1993. Later, in 1994, he was appointed the Minister for Local Government for the Palestinian Authority and also the Chairman of the Palestinian negotiation delegation.[1] In 1995, Erekat served as Chief Negotiator for the Palestinians during the Oslo period. He was then elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council in 1996, representing Jericho.[1] As a politician, Erekat was considered to be a Yasser Arafatloyalist. including the Camp David meetings in 2000 and the negotiations at Taba in 2001. Erekat was also, along with Arafat and Faisal Husseini, one of the three high-ranking Palestinians who asked Ariel Sharon not to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque in September 2000,[8] an event which allegedly sparked off the Second Intifada. He also acted as Yasser Arafat's English interpreter. WhenMahmoud Abbas was nominated to serve as Prime Minister of the Palestinian Legislative Council in early 2003, Erekat was slated to be Minister of Negotiations in the new cabinet, but he soon resigned after he was excluded from a delegation to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. This was interpreted as part of an internal Palestinian power struggle between Abbas and Arafat.[7][9] Erekat was later reappointed to his post and participated in the 2007 Annapolis Conference, where he took over from Ahmed Qureia during an impasse and helped hammer out a joint declaration.[10]
He resigned from his post as chief negotiator on 12 February 2011 citing the release of the Palestine Papers.[11]


Legacy

Erekat is one of the more prominent Palestinian spokespeople in the Western media.[12] During the Second Intifada he loudly criticized Israeli actions and together with other sources[13]characterized the IDF's 2002 assault in the Palestinian town of Jenin as a "massacre" and a "war crime", alleging that Israel has killed more than 500 Palestinians in the Jenin refugee camp. After the incident was over and the Palestinian death toll was recorded at between 53 and 56 casualties, Erekat faced widespread criticism.[14][15][16][17]

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