PLO names 14 to rule Gaza, Jericho

May 29, 1994|By New York Times News Service

JERICHO, West Bank -- Yasser Arafat named 13 men and one woman yesterday as ministers to the authority that is to govern the Gaza Strip and Jericho under the self-rule accord that the Palestine Liberation Organization negotiated with Israel.

About half the appointees come from Mr. Arafat's headquarters in Tunis, Tunisia. They either took part in negotiations with Israel in the past nine months or have been the PLO chairman's comrades since 1965 as he moved from Jordan to Lebanon to Tunisia.

In an effort to widen support for the peace agreement, Mr. Arafat named well-known figures from the Israeli-occupied territories, including Elias Freij, the mayor of Bethlehem since 1972; Saeb Erakat, a political science professor, and several lawyers and doctors from prominent families.

The appointments to the Palestinian National Authority, as the governing body is officially called, now leave 10 more seats to be filled. Mr. Arafat may be holding them out in the hope of persuading other top officials who have so far refrained from serving under him.

The members of the authority are expected to accompany him to Jericho next month, when they are be sworn in at a public ceremony.

Among the most notable figures:

* Dr. Nabil Shaath, 55, a businessman and public administration expert who has emerged as the top negotiator in the talks with Israel. Mr. Shaath, who holds a doctorate in public administration, was put in charge of planning and economic cooperation.

* Ahmad Qorai, 53, who conducted all financial and economic talks with Israel, was named minister of economy and trade.

* Mohammed Zuhdi Nashashibi, a Palestinian banker from a prominent Jerusalem family, was placed in charge of finance.

* The portfolio for social affairs was given to Intisar Wazir, 52, the widow of Khalil Wazir, a popular PLO official who was killed by Israeli commandos in Tunis in 1988.

Over the last decade, Mrs. Wazir has helped provide care for hundreds of Palestinian orphans and families of men and women killed or wounded by Israeli troops during the 27 years of %J occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

Senior Palestinian figures who turned down offers to join the authority include Mahmoud Abbas, the chief architect of the negotiated agreement; Farouk Kaddoumi, Mr. Arafat's adviser for foreign affairs, and Hanan Ashrawi, who gained prominence as spokeswoman for the Palestinian negotiators.

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