Middle East Monitor / September 28, 2020
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has issued “strict” directions related to the ongoing campaign against supporters of disgraced Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan in the occupied West Bank, Safa reported on Sunday.
According to informed sources, the campaign was launched in the wake of the normalisation deal between Israel and the UAE, which finances the former Fatah official.
Abbas issued his “strict” directions to the PA’s military intelligence agency, which is currently tracking Dahlan’s supporters in the West Bank. Several missions have been carried out in this regard.
The sources told Safa that “shocking” issues were revealed during the campaign about money transfers to Dahlan supporters through senior PA officials. “Again, this issue sounded alarm bells within the PA leadership as this is evidence the Dahlan has already penetrated the security and civil institutions at very senior levels,” they said.
The detention of two senior Dahlan supporters, Haitham Al-Halaby in Nablus and Salim Abu Safiyeh from Jericho is apparently only “a single link in a long chain”.
The official spokesman of Dahlan’s Democratic Reform group, Dmitri Deliani, said that the PA has detained dozens of his supporters over the past few weeks.
Deliani claimed that such detentions “are intended to divert attention from Abbas’s diplomatic failures and the normalisation deals between Arab states and Israel.” He also said that Abbas “is attempting to hide the fact that Dahlan’s group has become a major body within Fatah.” Abbas is the head of the movement, as well as the PLO and, of course, the PA.
Safa pointed out that the recent remarks by US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman that Washington is thinking about replacing Abbas with Dahlan “added fuel to the fire”. Friedman, however, says that he was misquoted.
Nevertheless, concluded the informed sources, “Abbas continues its crackdown on Dahlan’s group because the PA believes that the US had been engineering PA’s institutions and is planning to put Dahlan at the top of them.”