Deposed Fatah strongman slams ‘fascist, corrupt’ PA

Mohammad Dahlan says Palestinians should not blame Israel alone for their ‘disasters,’ criticizes Qatar for ‘politically motivated’ Gaza aid

Khaled Abu Toameh is the Palestinian Affairs correspondent for The Times of Israel

Exiled former senior Fatah member Mohammed Dahlan attends a Palestinian Legislative Council meeting in Gaza City through video conference from the United Arab Emirates on July 27, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / SAID KHATIB)
Exiled former senior Fatah member Mohammed Dahlan attends a Palestinian Legislative Council meeting in Gaza City through video conference from the United Arab Emirates on July 27, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / SAID KHATIB)

Mohammad Dahlan, the ousted Gaza leader of the Palestinian Fatah movement, on Monday launched a scathing broadside on the Palestinian Authority leadership, saying it has become an “additional burden” on the people.

Palestinians should not blame Israel alone for all their disasters “because this exonerates us from responsibility,” Dahlan said.

He denounced the PA government as “corrupt and fascist” for “punishing” the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and called for the formation of a “national salvation leadership.”

“I can understand the hardships facing the Palestinians,” Dahlan said in an interview with Egyptian television channel Ten. “But I can’t understand the Palestinian leadership becoming an additional burden on the Palestinians.”

The Palestinian leadership’s duty is to provide solutions, and not explanations, he said. “I can’t understand what the moral and national logic is in punishing the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip because they did not revolt against Hamas.”

Dahlan, who has been living in exile in the United Arab Emirates since he was expelled from Fatah in 2011, described the Palestinians’ political situation as “catastrophic.”

Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas (C) attends the “Jerusalem Conference as the Capital of the Islamic Youth” in the West Bank city of Ramallah on February 6, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / ABBAS MOMANI)

The Palestinian leadership in Ramallah, he added, was “relying on the approach of waiting and preserving the status quo.”

He said that the PA wants the Gaza Strip to remain “drowned in darkness and pain” while life in the Muqata’a presidential compound in Ramallah remains “beautiful.”

Dahlan, who served as commander of the PA’s Preventative Security Force in the Gaza Strip after the signing of the Oslo Accords, also accused the PA of ruining relations with Hamas and some Arab countries.

“We have become paralyzed bodies at a time when the West is ganging up against us and the US has endorsed the ideas of [Prime Minister Binjamin] Netanyahu,” he complained. “The Palestinian leadership has failed to turn the sacrifices of the Palestinians into achievements.”

Dahlan claimed that the PA government in Ramallah was collecting $1.3 billion in taxes imposed on the residents of the Gaza Strip. He said that only one quarter of the sum was being invested in the Gaza Strip, while the “remaining moneys went to the Ramallah coffer.”

Referring to the Hamas-Fatah power struggle, Dahlan said there was an “underestimation of the Palestinians’ minds.”

The differences between the two rival parties are “trivial,” he added. “Hamas has displayed flexibility in solving the crisis and 11 years of division are enough. It’s disgraceful for us to air our dirty laundry.”

Ismail Haniyeh, left, smiles as he celebrates with Fatah strongman Mohammed Dahlan in Gaza City on Saturday, March 17, 2007. (AP Photo,File)

Dahlan also criticized Qatar’s “politically motivated” financial aid to the Gaza Strip. The Egyptians, he said, have no “ambitions in Palestine, while the Qataris are providing financial aid to the Gaza Strip for political ambitions. We can’t be bought with money and no one can humiliate us.”

Dahlan’s appearance on an Egyptian television station coincided with discussions in Cairo between Hamas and Egyptian officials on ways of facilitating the implementation of a Palestinian reconciliation agreement reached in the Egyptian capital last November.

The Hamas delegation, headed by Ismail Haniyeh, met recently in Cairo with two of Dahlan’s top aides. The two sides discussed the economic and humanitarian crisis in the Strip and ways of ending the dispute between Hamas and the ruling Fatah faction.

Last year, Hamas and Dahlan were said to have reached an agreement, under the auspices of the Egyptians, to allow the ousted Fatah leader to play a role in efforts to end the crisis in the Gaza Strip with the help of Egypt and some Arab countries. However, the deal was shelved after Abbas, who considers Dahlan a major threat to his rule, rushed to sign the “reconciliation” accord with Hamas.

At the request of Abbas, Fatah expelled Dahlan from its ranks in 2011 after accusing him of financial corruption, murder and plotting to overthrow the PA president. Dahlan has vehemently denied the charges, accusing Abbas of abusing his power to settle scores with his political rivals.

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