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Salem Fayyad

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Salem Fayyad

Salam FayyadSalam Fayyad (Arabic: سلام فياض‎), current Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority  was born in 1952 in the northern West Bank village of Deir el Ghusun, then under Jordanian rule, in the vicinity of Tulkarm. He met his wife, Bashaer, a Jerusalemite, in Beirut in 1986. There three children were all born in America. They live in east Jerusalem. The Fayyads lived in the USA until 1996, when the IMF sent Salam Fayyad to the West Bank and Gaza  until 2001. Subsequently, he became finance minister and then prime minister.

Fayyad is currently Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority after being reappointed on May 19, 2009. Fayyad was initially appointed prime Minister on June 15 2007 by President Mahmoud Abbas during the emergency created by the Hamas coup..The appointment was not confirmed by the Palestinian Legislative Council. The Palestinian Authority has not held elections in recent years. and the term of Mahmoud Abbas has also expired.

Fayyad is trained and experienced as an economist. He graduated from the American University in Beirut in 1975, and got an MBA from St. Edwards University in 1980. Fayyad has a PhD in economics from the University of Texas at Austin, and worked in a U.S. Federal Reserve Bank before teaching economics in Jordan.  Fayyad was appointed Finance Minister in 2002 by Yasser Arafat but quit in disgust at the end of 2005. In 2007 he became Finance Minister under the unity government of Hamas and Fatah.1

Fayyad is an internationally respected economist and politician who is perceived as a moderate pragmatist. He is a political independent who belongs to the small Third Way party, which he founded with Hannan Ashrawi, and which gained less than 3% of the vote in 2006. He has aroused opposition by vowing to fight corruption in the ruling Fatah party. Fayyad's domestic political base is therefore weak, but he enjoys the support of business people and the confidence of foreign donors. Under Fayyad's stewardship the West Bank has undergone an economic revival.2

Fayyad combines nationalism with a belief in coexistence with Israel, and is uncompromising The hallmark of his policy is the 2009 plan entitled Palestine: Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State which calls for a non-violent and constructive path to Palestinian statehood alongside Israel, as opposed to the "armed struggle" championed by the  Hamas and Fatah.1

Ami Isseroff

October, 2010


1. Kershner, Isabel. Salam Fayyad, The New York Times, updated Aug.25, 2009, http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/f/salam_fayyad/index.html.

2. Perman, Stacy. A National Economy - Without the Nation, Time, Oct. 11,2010. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2022572,00.html

Synonyms and alternate spellings: ;

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Encyclopedia of the Middle East

Note - This encyclopedia is a work in progress. It is far from complete and is being constructed and improved all the time. If you would like to contribute articles or expansions of existing articles, please contact news (at) mideastweb.org.  Suggestions and corrections are welcome. The concise version of this dictionary is at our Middle East Glossary.

Spelling - Spelling of words in Middle-Eastern languages is often arbitrary. There may be many variants of the same name or word such as Hezbollah, Hizbolla, Hisbolla or Husayn and Hussein. There are some conventions for converting words from Semitic languages such as Arabic and Hebrew There are numerous variant renderings of the same Arabic or Hebrew words, such as "Hizbollah," "Hisbulla" etc. It is not possible to find exact equivalents for several letters. 

Pronunciation - Arabic and Hebrew vowels are pronounced differently than in English. "o" is very short. The "a" is usually pronounced like the "a" in market, sometimes as the "a" in "Arafat."  The " 'A " is guttural.  " 'H "- the 'het ('Hirbeh, 'Hebron, 'Hisbollah') designates a sound somewhat similar to the ch in "loch" in Scots pronunciation, but made by touching the back of your tongue to the roof of your mouth. The CH should be pronounced like Loch, a more assertive consonant than 'het.

The "Gh" combination, and sometimes the "G," designate a deep guttural sound that Westerners may hear approximately as "r." The "r" sound is always formed with the back of the tongue, and is not like the English "r."

More information: Hebrew, Arabic

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Salem Fayyad