Salam Fayyad

Salam Fayyad was the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, and internationally respected economist.

Born in 1952, Fayyad received his doctorate in economics from the University of Texas in 1986. He remained in the United States, where he worked for the International Monetary Fund from 1987 to 1995. Salam Fayyad also served as Palestine’s representative to the IMF until 2001 when Yasser Arafat appointed him as Minister of Finance in the Palestinian Authority. He has acquired a reputation as a trustworthy official for cleaning up the finances and organizing the books of the Palestinian Authority.

In 2005, Salam Fayyad left the cabinet and formed a new political party, the Third Way, which won two seats in the 2006 elections. In the turmoil caused by the 2006 elections and Hamas’ rise as Fatah’s rival in Palestinian politics, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared a state of emergency and appointed Fayyad as Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority.

Salam Fayyad’s record of cleaning up financial corruption and his role as an independent made him a welcomed choice by Israel and the United States. Fayyad is seen as pro-Western and his economic reforms have successfully helped the Palestinian Authority secure $200 million from the U.S. Congress. Although Salam Fayyad’s independent government enjoys recognition by Israel and the West, Hamas has rejected its legitimacy. The Hamas-controlled Palestinian parliament has not ratified his appointment.

In March 2009, Fayyad submitted his resignation as prime minister, but in May 2009 was reappointed by Abbas to the position. Since his reappointment as prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, Fayyad has drafted economic reforms while seeking an independent Palestinian state by developing Palestine’s economy and government infrastructure.

In August 2009, Fayyad unveiled his proposal, “Palestine- Ending Occupation, Establishing the State”, where he detailed a two year program for building vital infrastructures and institutions for a Palestinian state while working on peace negotiations with Israel.