Mohammad Shtayyeh born 17 January 1958, is a former assistant professor of economics at Birzeit University and a member of numerous organizations dedicated to developing the infrastructure of the Palestinian territories, such as the Technical Development Corporation (TDC), the forerunner to the Palestine Investment Fund (PIF), and the Palestinian Housing Council.
In 1993, he was appointed as a permanent member to the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, a tripartite entity consisting of Israel, the PA, and international donors commissioned to facilitate international aid to the Palestinians.
In 1994, along with other Palestinian leaders, he founded the Palestinian Economic Council for Development & Reconstruction (PECDAR), a government institute that researches, crafts, and implements development policies. He was appointed general director of PECDAR in 1996, and in 2003 named president, with the rank of minister, by Yasser Arafat.
Shtayyeh has joined and led multiple other initiatives related to Palestinian development and also focused on regional projects. He founded the Institute for Information and Technology and the National Administration Institute to train and improve the efficiency of PA employees.
He was a member of the cabinet, minister of public works and housing in 2005 and 2009, and governor of the Palestine Islamic Bank in 2007. Shtayyeh has served on multiple Palestinian negotiating teams, including the most recent U.S.-led negotiations in 2013-2014.
However, he resigned before their collapse in April 2014, protesting the lack of progress. Shtayyeh was elected to the Fatah Central Committee in 2009. He also contributed to a long report surveying the damage to Gaza following the summer 2014 war.
Shtayyeh maintains a close relationship to Abbas and frequently defends his policies, seeing himself as a potential Abbas successor. Although historically a supporter of a two-state solution, he recently warned that it may no longer be possible: “We are headed toward the one-state option.”
Mohammad Shtayyeh Full Biography and Profile
Born in the city of Nablus in the West Bank in 1958, he was nine years old when Israel seized the territory during the Six-Day War, an occupation that continues. He studied at Birzeit University in the West Bank, completed a PhD in development at Sussex University in Britain and then returned to the Palestinian territories in the late 1980s.
Since then he has spent much of his life working alongside Abbas, with whom he has a close relationship.
He was part of US-brokered negotiations with Israel in 1991 and again in 2013-14, led by then US secretary of state John Kerry.
A political moderate, he is a strong supporter of the two-state solution, meaning the creation of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.
He has served as a minister twice in previous Palestinian governments, as well as held major roles in economic development initiatives including the Palestinian Economic Council for Development and Reconstruction. He is also an academic and has taught at Birzeit.
Shtayyeh replaces Rami Hamdallah, who had been prime minister since 2014. Unlike the two previous prime ministers who were ostensibly politically independent, Shtayyeh comes from Fatah, Abbas’s political party.
Analysts see this as a government that will be dominated by Fatah, while its predecessor was at least theoretically agreed upon by all parties.
In particular its formation isolates Hamas, the other major Palestinian party and Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip.
Hamas and Fatah have been at loggerheads since the Islamists seized control of the Gaza Strip in a 2007 near civil war, a year after winning parliamentary elections.
Palestinian politics has effectively been frozen since, and multiple reconciliation attempts have faltered.
The previous government was formed at a time of potential breakthrough in talks and had the backing of Hamas and other factions.
Abbas’s spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeinah admitted that the collapse in reconciliation talks had led to the new government.
“If Hamas is not willing for reconciliation, if Hamas is not willing for elections, if Hamas is still wanting with others to form a mini-state in Gaza for the Muslim Brotherhood — if this is their strategy we have to end this relationship. That’s why we have to form a new government,” he told journalists.
Hugh Lovatt, an analyst at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said critics would see the move as a “naked power grab by Fatah”.
“There was a desire to replace the previous government — which was seen to be underperforming — with a more political government, but it will also fully shut Hamas out of the decision-making process and further undermine Palestinian democracy,” he told AFP.
Mahmud Abbas announces appointment of longtime adviser Shtayyeh as Palestine Prime Minister
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas appointed longtime ally Mohammad Shtayyeh as prime minister on Sunday, a senior official said, in a move seen as part of efforts to further isolate Hamas.
Abbas asked Shtayyeh, a member of the central committee of the Palestinian president’s Fatah party, to form a new government, Fatah vice president Mahmoud al-Aloul told AFP. Official Palestinian news agency WAFA also reported the move.
Some analysts view bringing in Shtayyeh to replace outgoing prime minister Rami Hamdallah as part of Abbas’s efforts to further isolate his political rivals from Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip.
- Mohammad Shtayyeh Biography and Profile (DM / Mohammad Shtayyeh)