DE RUEHJM #2576/01 1721541
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 211541Z JUN 06
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2942
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC PRIORITY C O N F I D E N T I A L JERUSALEM 002576
NEA FOR FRONT OFFICE, NSC FOR ABRAMS/DORAN/LOGERFO
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/21/2016
SUBJECT: MUNIB AL-MASRI TOUTED AS POTENTIAL PM IN NATIONAL
Classified By: Consul General Jake Walles, per reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (C) Summary. Amid speculation that Fatah and Hamas are
nearing consensus on the prisoners' initiative, and possibly
agreement on a National Unity Government (NUG), Fatah and
private sector sources have suggested that prominent Nablus
businessman, Munib al-Masri, is a potential candidate for the
post of Prime Minister. Al-Masri is actively campaigning for
the job. This cable offers biographic background on
al-Masri. End summary.
A Self-Made Man
2. (SBU) Born in Nablus in 1934, al-Masri received his
early education in Nablus at al-Najah High School, while
pursuing his higher education in Texas. He graduated with
honors in 1955 from the University of Texas with a degree in
Petroleum Geology and in 1956 he received a Masters degree in
Geology and Government from Sul Ross State University in
3. (SBU) He went on to join Phillips Petroleum as a
geologist. At the same time, Phillips Petroleum allowed him
to establish the Engineering and Geological Services Office,
the precursor to the EDGO Group, of which he is still the
chairman and CEO. EDGO has developed into an international
conglomerate with operations in 20 countries involved in
contracting and joint ventures and as a supplier/distributor
of engineering equipment and materials. In one interview,
al-Masri described the company as specializing in the oil,
gas, power, and water industries.
4. (C) After his initial stint with Phillips Petroleum in
Jordan, he went on to manage their office in Algeria during
Algeria's struggle for independence. He then took a leave of
absence to join the Jordanian government as a special
consultant supervising the execution of major public projects
in Jordan. Afterwards, he returned to Phillips to become the
company head in Beirut, overseeing operations in 16
countries. At the same time, the EDGO Group pursued
lucrative projects in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab
Emirates. Other sources close to al-Masri, have said that
there were also a number of EDGO projects in Libya.
5. (SBU) In 1970, he joined the Jordanian government of
Prime Minister Wasfi al-Tal as Minister of Public Works.
During this period, he mediated between King Hussein and PLO
Chairman Yasir Arafat. He returned to Nablus in 1994 after
the signing of the Israeli-Palestinian Declaration of
Principles and founded the Palestinian Development and
Investment Company (PADICO) in Nablus, the largest company in
the West Bank and Gaza. He is still the company's Chairman.
A political moderate, al-Masri was considered for the
position of PA Prime Minister in March 2003 -- a post that
was eventually awarded to Mahmud Abbas. A political
independent, al-Masri also serves in the structures of the
PLO as a member of the PLO Central Council.
to Palestinian Charities
6. (SBU) Al-Masri is considered one of the world's
wealthiest Palestinians and is well-known for his involvement
in several economic and philanthropic Palestinian
organizations. Al-Masri was instrumental in the
establishment of the al-Quds University Investment Fund and
is a member of the Board of Trustees of al-Quds University.
In addition, he has served as Chairman of the Board of
Trustees of the Sakakini Cultural Center in Ramallah.
Al-Masri is also affiliated with the Engineering and
Technology College at al-Najah University in Nablus and is a
member of the Board of Trustees of the American University in
Beirut. During the second Intifadah, al-Masri created the
Nablus Rehabilitation Committee, which aims to rebuild homes
destroyed by the IDF. He is also a member of the World
Bank's Council of Advisors for the Middle East and North
7. (C) He has an American (other reports say British)
spouse and six children. Though he built an Italian-style
villa situated on Mount Gerizim overlooking Nablus (costing
an estimated USD 3-4 million), he is reportedly known for his
"stinginess." According to one February 2005 press report,
al-Masri has undergone heart surgery, and has six stents in
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