Abu Zayyad, Zayyad Ali Khalil (1940–)
ABU ZAYYAD, ZAYYAD ALI KHALIL (1940–)
Palestinian political figure. Ali Abu Zayyad was born in 1940 in Azariya, near Jerusalem. After obtaining a degree in law from the University of Damascus in 1965, Abu Zayyad worked for the Jordanian department of immigration. He was associated with the newspaper Al Quds and edited the Hebrew-language edition of Al-Fajr from 1977 to 1983. In 1985 he joined a discussion group that had been started by some Palestinian figures who were favorable to a peace accord with Israel. In 1986 he founded a Hebrew-language bimonthly, Gesher (Bridge), intended for a Jewish Israeli readership. In February 1988, at the time of the visit of U.S. secretary of state George Shultz to Israel, Abu Zayyad was part of a Palestinian delegation received by Schultz. In 1990 he was interrogated a number of times by Israeli police, who were suspicious of his political activism.
Abu Zayyad headed the advisory committee of the Palestinian delegation to the Madrid Conference of 1991 and participated in various Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. In 1993 he co-founded with Hillel Schenker the quarterly Israel-Palestine Journal and he remains its coeditor as of 2004. In January 1996, he was elected a deputy in the new Palestinian Legislative Council. In 1998 he joined the Palestinian Authority (PA), headed by Yasir Arafat, as minister without portfolio; he became minister for Jerusalem on the death of Faysal al-Husayni in May 2001 and remained in that position until the PA reorganization in 2002.