Former Fatah official Mohammad Dahlan on Saturday announced that he’d form a united front in opposition to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas following the latter’s failed statehood bid at the UN Security Council.
Dahlan, a longtime rival of Abbas who was expelled from Abbas’s Fatah party in 2011, is considered a legitimate contender by some Palestinians and PLO leaders to replace the president, who’s been in power since 2005. He once held the internal security portfolio and headed the powerful security forces in the Gaza Strip, but fell from grace in June 2007 when Hamas drove Fatah from Gaza after days of fierce street battles.
Dahlan told Sky News Arabic in an interview that the latest Palestinian diplomatic effort at the United Nations spearheaded by Abbas was “a disaster” and said that Palestinian governmental institutions were not involved in the decision-making process.
“Most of the Palestinian people oppose the proposal that [Abbas] put forward” at the Security Council, Dahlan said. “This was a hasty and reckless decision that wasn’t made with the unified consensus of the Palestinians. The proposal was changed a number of times without consultation of the decision makers. This was a decision that constitutes a new disaster for relations with Israel which will bring shame and destruction of the Palestinian issue.”
The Security Council on Tuesday voted down the resolution, which called for the recognition of Palestinian statehood and the withdrawal of Israeli forces by the end of 2017. France, China, Russia, Argentina, Chad, Chile, Jordan and Luxembourg supported the resolution, with Australia and the United States voting against. Britain, Lithuania, Nigeria, South Korea and Rwanda abstained.
In June 2011 Dahlan was expelled from Fatah’s ruling body and also lost his parliamentary immunity following allegations of financial corruption and murder.
Last May, a West Bank court sentenced Dahlan, who lives in the United Arab Emirates, to two years in jail — effectively barring him from ever running in general or presidential elections.
At the time, one of his lawyers, Sevag Torossian, described the trial as a “demolition machine” operated by Abbas against Dahlan.