Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday lifted the parliamentary immunity of five PA lawmakers, as he readied to level charges against them, sources in Abbas’s office and the Palestinian parliament said.
The five MPs include Mohammad Dahlan, the former Gaza strongman who was ousted from Fatah by Abbas in 2010, and four other lawmakers: Shami Shami, Najat Abu Bakr, Nasser Juma and Jamal Tirawi.
They will face charges of embezzlement, weapons smuggling, defamation and insults, according to the sources, who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity.
According to one source, “The whole issue related to existing conflicts” between Abbas and Dahlan.
Dahlan, who was one of Fatah’s most prominent leaders, was kicked out of the Gaza Strip in 2011 after a feud with Abbas. He currently lives in the UAE.
Arab leaders, especially in the so-called Arab Quartet of Jordan, Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, have recently pressured Abbas to mend fences within Fatah and make peace with Dahlan.
Many analysts believe the outside pressure led Abbas to convene the recent Seventh Fatah Congress — in which the party voted for its leadership — with the aim of sidelining and delegitimizing Dahlan’s circle within Fatah.
None of Dahlan’s associates were invited to the five-day congress, which began on November 28.
Earlier in November, the Palestinian Constitutional Court, a body set up a few months earlier by Abbas himself, issued a decision confirming the right of the PA president to lift the parliamentary immunity of lawmakers in the Palestinian Legislative Council.
The Palestinian Legislative Council, the Palestinian parliament, has not met since 2007, after Hamas took complete control of the Gaza Strip in a violent battle.