Former Fatah Central Committee member Mohammed Dahlan has been plotting to overthrow Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, according to Major General Majid Faraj, head of the Palestinian General Intelligence Service, Israeli daily Ma’ariv reported on Tuesday.
Dozens of men loyal to Dahlan, the one-time Gaza strongman, recently attacked Faraj’s forces inside a Palestinian-Arab refugee camp located in the PA-controlled city of Nablus, Ma’ariv said.
According to Faraj, “These boys take pride in the fact that they are affiliated with Dahlan, receive a salary of NIS 2,000 a month, buy weapons and strut around the camp with them.”
Another skirmish near the PA-controlled city of Jenin is an apparent example of Dahlan’s method of operation Ma’ariv said. The Palestinian National Security Force’s Select Unit 101 was recently in the process of completing a disarmament operation in Jenin, having arrived at the Balata refugee camp, when the assembled force suddenly encountered surprising resistance.
Amjad, a resident of Balata, saw 25 armed men open fire on the men of Select Unit 101. Abbas’s soldiers fired tear gas in response. According to Amjad, the gunmen who had fired upon the Palestinian security force were under the command of long-time Abbas rival Dahlan. Amjad asserts that Dahlan’s followers, “have no concept of politics or the national liberation movement. Dahlan utilizes them to try and prove that he has power against Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas]. The economic situation is difficult and as soon as someone offers to pay money in return for support, people will go support him.”
Dahlan was once a leading Palestinian political figure but fell from power as soon as Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in 2007, a development for which he was held responsible by Abbas.
Following Hamas’s conquest of Gaza, Dahlan attempted to oust Abbas as ruler of the Palestinian Authority. However, Abbas managed to beat back Dahlan, who was eventually forced out of Fatah.
Since then, Dahlan has been trying to create pockets of internal resistance to the President of the Palestinian Authority, Ma’ariv said.