Erekat in London, December 2014
|Member of the "Palestinian Parliament
20 January 1996
28 April 1955 |
"Abu Dis, "West Bank, "Palestine
|Children||Salam, Dalal, Ali, Mohammad|
|"Alma mater||"San Francisco State University|
Saeb Muhammad Salih Erekat (also Erikat or Erakat or Arekat; "Arabic: صائب عريقات Ṣāʼib ʻUrayqāt or ʻRēqāt; born 28 April 1955) is a "Palestinian diplomat who served as chief of the "PLO Steering and Monitoring Committee until 12 February 2011. He negotiated the "Oslo Accords with "Israel 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 reappointed to the post in September 2003.
Erekat was born in "Abu Dis, then "illegally annexed by Jordan. He is a member of the Palestinian branch of the Erekat family, itself a branch of the "Howeitat tribal confederation. Erekat is one of seven children, with his brothers and sisters living outside of Israel or the "Palestinian territories.
In 1972, Erekat moved to "San Francisco, California, in the United States to attend college. He spent two years at "City College of San Francisco, a two-year "community college. He then transferred to "San Francisco State University. There, Erekat received a "BA in international relations (in 1977) and an "MA in "political science (in 1979). He completed his "Ph.D. in "peace and conflict studies at "Bradford University, a "public, "plate glass university in England (in 1983). He is married and is father of twin daughters and two sons.
After gaining his doctorate in England, Erekat moved 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 locally widely circulated Palestinian newspaper, "Al-Quds.
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. In 1994, he was appointed the Minister for Local Government for the "Palestinian National Authority and also the Chairman of the Palestinian negotiation delegation. 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. As a politician, Erekat was considered to be a "Yasser Arafat loyalist. 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, an event which Palestinians claim sparked off the "Second Intifada. He also acted as Arafat's English interpreter. When "Mahmoud 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 Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. This was interpreted as part of an internal Palestinian power struggle between Abbas and Arafat. Erekat was later reappointed to his post and participated in the 2007 "Annapolis Conference, where he took over from "Ahmed Qurei during an impasse and helped hammer out a joint declaration.
Erekat is one of the more prominent Palestinian spokespeople in the Western media.
During the Second Intifada, he loudly criticized Israeli actions and 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, however, and the Palestinian death toll was recorded at actually be between 53 and 56 casualties, mostly combatants, Erekat faced strong criticism in the US.
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