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2006-03-22 16:08:00
Consulate Jerusalem
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DE RUEHJM #1175/01 0811608
O 221608Z MAR 06
						C O N F I D E N T I A L JERUSALEM 001175 




E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/22/2016

Classified By: Consul General Jake Walles, per reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) During a March 19 meeting in Gaza with Palestinian
Authority (PA) President Mahmud Abbas, Hamas PM-designate
Isma'il Haniyyah presented Abbas with a list of cabinet
ministers for the next Palestinian government. The
Palestinian media, citing unnamed Hamas and PA sources, has
identified 24 ministers. The projected cabinet ministers
consist of a mixture of Hamas PLC members, technocrats, and
independents. At least five have received a university
education in the U.S., and at least two have taught at U.S.
universities. The cabinet does not include Fatah or PFLP
members. The list includes one female minister (Women
Affairs) and one Christian minister (Tourism). Although PA
presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaynah told the press that
the cabinet would be brought before the PLC for approval
following the March 28 Israeli elections, there is also word
late on March 22 that Hamas is seeking to schedule a special
PLC session for March 25 to vote on the proposed cabinet.

2. (C) The following biographic information -- based on
information from the PLO, Palestinian media reporting, ConGen
Fatah contacts, and Hamas-affiliated websites -- is an
unconfirmed list of cabinet members in the Hamas-led PA

Prime Minister and Minister of Youth and Sports:

-- Isma'il Haniyyah (Hamas): The moderate, public face of the
Hamas Gaza leadership. Haniyyah served as chief of staff for
Hamas founder Shaykh Ahmad Yassin. Haniyyah is a refugee
from the Shati camp and received a BA in Arabic Literature.

Minister of Foreign Affairs:

-- Mahmud al-Zahar (Hamas): A doctor by profession with a
medical degree from Cairo's Ayn Shams University, al-Zahar
was in the ninth slot on the Hamas national list. His
frequent public statements emphasize militant activity to a
greater degree than PM-designate Isma'il Haniyyah.

Minister of Interior:

-- Sa'id Siyam (Hamas): A Hamas PLC member from Gaza City,
Siyam is a prominent Hamas political leader and a primary
spokesmen of the movement's Gaza leadership. He appears
often on Arab media outlets. Siyam, who received a BA in
Islamic Studies and Mathematics, has been jailed by the
Israel and the PA at different times.

Minister of Finance:

--Omar 'Abd al-Raziq (Hamas): From Salfit in the West Bank,
'Abd al-Raziq won a PLC seat on the Hamas national list. A
Ph.D. graduate in economics from Iowa University, he is
currently a professor of economics at al-Najah University in
Nablus. Imprisoned by Israel several times, 'Abd al-Raziq
was released from Israeli administrative custody in March
following his arrest in December 2005.

Minister of Health:

-- Basem Na'im (Hamas): A doctor of internal medicine and
surgery at Dar al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza's main hospital.
Na'im received his medical degree in Germany. Active in
mid-level Hamas political structures in Gaza, Na'im also
heads a Hamas medical association and is on the board of the
Palestinian Medical Forum Institute. His seventeen-year-old
son, reportedly a member of the military wing of Hamas, was
killed in an IDF operation in Gaza during the Intifadah.

Minister of National Economy:

-- Ala-Eddin al-Araj (Hamas): Born in Gaza in 1964, al-Araj
received a BS in Civil Engineering in 1987 from al-Najah
University in Nablus. Head of the Palestinian Contractors
Union in Gaza, al-Araj is also a member of numerous
engineering and business associations, and serves as chairman
of the board of several construction companies. Al-Araj
served prison time in Israel from 1991-1993 for
Intifadah-related activities.

Minister of Social Affairs:

-- Fakhri Turkman (Independent): A member of the previous PLC
from Jenin, Turkman is an independent Islamist with a BA in
Sociology and MA in Education.

Minister of Prisoner Affairs:
-- Wasfi Qabaha: Born in 1959 in Barta'a village near Jenin.
He received a degree in civil engineering in 1984 while
studying in the U.S., followed by an MA in water resources
management in Ireland. Qabaha is head of the civil
engineering department for the Jenin municipality. Qabaha
has spent a total of six years in Israeli jails, and was last
incarcerated in 2002. He is married with nine children.

Minister of Education and Deputy PM:

-- Naser Eddin al-Sha'er (Hamas): Al-Sha'er, age 45, is
currently the Dean of Islamic Studies and Law at al-Najah
University in Nablus. He received a Ph.D. in Middle East
Studies at Manchester University in the United Kingdom where
his dissertation was a comparative study on the role of women
in Islam and Judaism. Al-Sha'er was a research scholar on
religion and democracy at New York University and published
several books and papers on gender, globalization, and human
rights within religious higher education.

Minister of Information:

-- Yusif Rizqah (Hamas): From al-Burayj refugee camp in Gaza,
Rizqah holds a Ph.D. in Arabic Literature and currently
lectures at Gaza's Islamic University where he has previously
served as Dean of the College of Arts and Student Affairs.
Although an active member of Hamas, Rizqah is not viewed as a
key decision-maker in the movement.

Minister for Women Affairs:

-- Maryam Saleh (Hamas): Saleh, who won a PLC on the Hamas
national list, holds a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from Um
al-Qura University in Mecca and has published works on legal
and political issues relating to women and Islam. Saleh
resided for 22 years in Saudi Arabia before returning to the
West Bank in 1993, and has since worked at al-Quds
University. A Ramallah resident, Saleh is also a member of
several women and charitable societies.

Minister of Justice:

-- Ahmad al-Khalidi (Technocrat): A political independent,
al-Khalidi is a noted legal expert and respected academic.
He is Dean of al-Najah's Law School. Al-Khalidi also heads a
committee of legal experts responsible for drafting the
Palestinian constitution. No reported ties to Hamas. He is
a member of the PLO's Palestine National Council.

Minister of Telecommunications:

-- Jamal al-Khudari (Independent): A PLC independent from
Gaza City who won his seat with support from Hamas,
al-Khudari received a BA in electrical engineering. Member
of a Gaza engineering union, he has also served as chairman
of the board of trustees of the Islamic University in Gaza
and as a board member of Paltrade.

Minister of Transport:

-- 'Abd al-Rahman Zaydan (Hamas): Zaydan, age 45, is a Hamas
PLC member from Tulkarm. He received his degree in civil
engineering from the University of Alabama in 1985. He works
as a supervising engineer to PECDAR projects. Arrested by
Israel in 1993 on suspicion of ties to the Hamas military
wing in the northern West Bank.

Minister of Tourism:

-- Tannus Abu Eitah (Christian): Abu Eitah, age 57, was born
in Bayt Sahur near Bethlehem. A Palestinian Christian with
strong ties to the tourism industry, Abu Eitah is director of
the Paradise and Shepherd Hotels in Bethlehem. A political
activist, Abu Eitah has been arrested by the Israelis on
several occasions during the first Intifadah.

Minister of Culture:

-- Attallah Abu al-Sabeh (Hamas): Raised in the Rafah refugee
camp, al-Sabeh received his basic education at UNRWA schools
before graduating in 1969 from Ramallah's Teachers Training
College majoring in science and mathematics. He then worked
at UNRWA schools until 1984. Al-Sabeh, who ran
unsuccessfully for a PLC seat for Hamas in Rafah, received a
Ph.D. in Islamic Law in Sudan and currently teaches at Gaza's
Islamic University. He was Dean of Student Affairs at the
university from 1997-2001. A contributor to the
Hamas-affiliated newspaper al-Risala, al-Sabeh has gained
further recognition as a preacher in Gaza mosques. A founder
of Hamas in southern Gaza, al-Sabeh is considered a
hardliner. Israel has detained al-Sabeh on five different

Minister of Housing and Public Works:

-- Ziad Thatha (Hamas): Thatha, age 51, is originally from
Gaza and received a degree in civil engineering from
Alexandria University in Egypt. He is deputy regional
engineer for UNRWA and member of the Palestinian Engineers
Union in Gaza. He is also involved in many charitable and
social projects.

Minister of Religious Affairs:

-- Nayef Rajub (Hamas): From Hebron district, Hamas PLC
member Rajub received an MA Degree in Islamic law. Brother of
former PA Presidential Security Advisor Jibril Rajub. He
comes from a prominent family in Dura village near Hebron.
He served more than 13 years in Israeli prison. Nayef has
been a Hamas activist since the early 1990s.

Minister of Planning:

-- Samir Abu Eisheh (Hamas): Abu Eisheh, age 46, is
originally from Nablus. He received a Ph.D. in Urban
Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and has
previously served as a visiting professor at universities in
the U.S., Germany, and France. Abu Eisheh was also a
Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of Washington in

1999. Currently serving as Vice President for Development
and Planning at al-Najah University, Abu Eisheh has served as
a consultant to several Palestinian universities and
institutions. He has published two books and 60 articles and
research papers related to planning.

Minister of Labor:

-- Muhammad al-Barghouthi (Hamas): Born in 1968 in Kobar
village near Ramallah, al-Barghouthi received a BA in
Mathematics and Computer Science and MA in Business
Administration from al-Najah University. Arrested several
times by Israel during the first Intifadah, he spent
approximately five years in jail for being a Hamas leader in
the Ramallah area. Al-Barghouthi is the head of the Islamic
Charitable Society in Ramallah.

Minister of Agriculture:

-- Muhammad Ramadan al-Agha (Hamas): Al-Agha, age 47, was
raised in Khan Yunis. Received a Ph.D. in Environment and
Water from Manchester University in the United Kingdom and
has worked as a professor at the Islamic University in Gaza
since 1982 where he is head of the Environmental Studies
Center. Served as a visiting professor at Bremen University
in Germany, Manchester University, and in the U.S. at the
University of Virginia. He is a fellow at the American
Society for Science Advancement, member of the American
Federation of Geophysicists, and member of the British
Geology Scientific Society. He did not run in the PLC
elections, but reportedly has ties to Hamas.

Minister of Jerusalem Affairs:

-- Khalid Abu Arafeh: Born in Jerusalem in 1961, Abu Arafeh
received a BS in Chemistry and a BS in Electrical Engineering
from the Technology University in Baghdad in 1983. Between
1987 and 1993, Abu Arafeh worked as a technical manager for a
Palestinian food distribution company and currently owns a
business in Jerusalem selling construction materials. Head
of public relations for the Silwan Charitable Society, Abu
Arafeh is also a member of several Jerusalem-based religious
and charitable societies. With close ties to Hamas, Abu
Arafeh has been arrested by Israeli authorities on five
separate occasions between 1981 and 1995.

Minister of Local Government:

-- Issa al-Jabari: Al-Jabari, age 40, is an engineer by
profession with a BS degree in Chemical Engineering from
Jordanian University in 1990. Also holds a BA in Islamic
Education from al-Quds Open University in 2002. A
businessman from Hebron, al-Jabari is general director of a
family-owned industrial trade firm in Hebron. Member of the
board of directors from 1991-1996 of the Islamic Youth
Association in Hebron and member of the board of directors
for the Islamic Charitable Commission from 2000-2005. Not a
member of Hamas, al-Jabari has been arrested by Israel on
four separate occasions between 1993 and 2004.

Minster of State Without Portfolio:

-- Dr. Atef Odwan (Hamas): A Hamas PLC member from North
Gaza, Odwan received a Ph.D. in political science in the
United Kingdom. He currently teaches at Gaza's Islamic
University. He has published numerous books on political
theory and international relations and is a frequent lecturer
in Gaza mosques. Former advisor to Hamas founder Shaykh
Yassin. A member of the PLO's Palestine National Council,
Odwan has served time in Israeli prisons and was expelled to
Lebanon by Israel in 1992.

Cabinet Secretary, Council of Ministers:

-- Muhammad Awad: Awad, age 45, is currently Vice President
of Information Technology Affairs at the Islamic University
in Gaza. A professor of engineering, Awad was Dean of the
Engineering College at the university from 2003-2005, and
Dean of Planning and Development from 2001-2003. A member of
several engineering associations, Awad is also reportedly a
member of the American Engineering Association.