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February 6, 2014 12:17 pm

Report: Netanyahu in Talks With Abbas Rival Mohammed Dahlan

avatar by Gidon Ben-zvi

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Former Fatah strongman Mohammed Dahlan. Photo: Screenshot.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is covertly seeking out other potential Palestinian Arab peace partners to negotiate with – instead of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Israeli daily Ma’ariv reported on Thursday. The news comes as current Israeli-PA framework agreement talks enter their seventh month.

Netanyahu’s special envoy, Yitzhak Molcho, has met with Abbas rival Mohammed Dahlan on at least one occasion, according to Ma’ariv.

Mohammed Dahlan is a former Fatah Central Committee member who was once a leading Palestinian political figure. At the peak of his power Dahlan was also head of the Preventive Security Authority of the Palestinian Authority. However, he fell from grace when terror group Hamas forcefully 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 PA, Ma’ariv said.

The back channel talks with Dahlan are being conducted in part because of a realization by Israeli leaders that Abbas is either unwilling or unable to sign a final status agreement with Jerusalem, Ma’ariv said.

In contrast, Dahlan is believed by some senior level government officials in Jerusalem to genuinely desire peace with Israel. Supporters of the discussions inside the Israeli government also believe that Dahlan could act as an important bridge between the West Bank and Gaza, which was at one point Dahlan’s power center, according to the report.

One of the main arguments used by opponents of Israeli-PA negotiations has long been that Abbas does not represent the Palestinian Arab people, Ma’ariv said. The fact that the PA President has put off elections in the West Bank for years only proves the point that his popular following is limited, the paper added.

Another argument against Abbas-led peace talks with Israel is that he has no control over the population of Gaza. As a result, any negotiated settlement between Jerusalem and Ramallah would not include its inhabitants, Ma’ariv said.

Furthermore, Dahlan himself has claimed that he, and not Abbas, can be counted on to bring peace. Dahlan reportedly sent a letter to the American government in 2010 in which he said that, “There is no choice but to replace Abbas with someone who can deliver results.”

The office of Israeli Premier Netanyahu has not commented on Molcho’s alleged association with Dahlan, Ma’ariv said.

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  • The two parties in this process have different definitions of “peace”. To the Israelis “peace” is defined as a secession of fighting, mutual acceptance of each others right of sovereignty, and general economic and security cooperation. To the Palestinians “peace” means the elimination of the state of Israel and driving every Jew and Christian out of the area or killing them. So as I see it the two sides are aiming at completely different outcomes. One side has pledged to Allah to eliminate the opposition even a the loss of their own lives. So they cannot agree to Israeli’s version of peace. The only thing that Israel can do to agree to the Palestinian version of peace is to abandon its claim to Israeli territory and commit suicide. It is highly unlikely that either side will accept the other side’s wishes. Under these conditions, I see no chance of a lasting agreement possible.

  • Yale

    There is a factual question that has to be addressed: If Abbas, who has the title of President, cannot deliver on any peace agreement he might make, why would Dahlan, who has no such position, be able to do so?

    The only person worth negotiating with is someone who can actually deliver on what he promises. If they can’t, it doesn’t really matter what their intentions are.

    • Efram Paul

      Unless this development will cause the US to put pressure on the PA to finally hold elections.

    • Tomm Friend

      Abbas holds no office. His term of office has expired.
      He has obstructed further elections.

  • Ron Blower

    ” What matters is achieving a Palestinian state with rights for Palestinians and settling all claims with them as a nation so to deal with the other Islamist radicals…”

    As my keen, cogent and, most importantly, extended analysis stated— IN FULL— above, show:

    “Ain’t gonna happen”…. BUT!!

    Good luck with that.

  • Beatrix

    Who does a country make peace with? The people they hate the most in the world. They people they’ve been at war with. Israel has peace with Egypt and Jordan, whose people still hate Jews, but whose leaders maintain the peace agreements.

    Dahlan doesn’t have to love the Israelis to make peace, he just has to have courage and to be so ambitious and power hungry that that nothing can stop him from negotiating peace and getting a country of his own to run. Arabs have told us that Abbas will be killed if he makes peace. The older you get, the less you want to die. Dahlan won’t be bulldozed.

    • Lynne T

      Yes, Sadat bravely showed the way on that one and no doubt had some sense of the price he ultimately paid, but he was clearly acting in the best interests of his people.

      Hopefully, Dahlan is another Sadat, but that he will won’t have to pay the ultimate price.

      The only people who have to “make peace” are, of course enemies, and they do so not out of affection, but because they recognize the cost/ben of ending war.

  • Irving D. Cohen

    Sami, I respectfully submit that you are much too credulous; that guy can’t be trusted farther tha Abbas and Hanan Ashrawi, to whom refer as the DRAGON LADY.

  • Irving D. Cohen

    I have as much confidence in Dahlan’s sincerity as I have in Abbas’ real love for Israelis.

  • AbbaGuutuu

    Since the Palestinian Arabs in the West bank and Gaza have been systematically indoctrinated to hate Jews/Israel, is it possible for Dahlan or any other person to bring about a desired change for future peace? How about all other Arab countries who hate the very existence of the Jews on religious (based on Koran and Hadiths) and ethnic grounds? I wish there could be peace for both Arabs and Jews without further blood sheds. Absent a miracle or a decisive victory by onside on the battle field and international diplomacy, I donot think any one of the current Palestinian leaderships would be able to make a peaceful agreement with Israel. Let us pray and hope for the best!

    • Ron Blower

      Ditto.

    • Tomm Friend

      Israel must insist that any Peace partner set religious freedom and individual rights as a basis for the future without violence.
      Kerry should be asked to support these goals.

  • Sami

    Well. That`s a good news.

  • Ken Besig

    The Palestinians have several methods or stages in their plan to destroy Israel and exterminate the Jewish People. Hamas for example is explicit and clear about their plans and make no attempt to hide their destructive and genocidal intents towards Israel and the Jewish People, the PLO is less obviously extreme, but just as committed to the goal of Israel’s destruction and the demise of the Jews, and then there are a few stalking horses like Dahlan, who talk a somewhat moderate line, but who are no less radical and extreme when it comes to the Palestinian d’etre, the destruction of Israel and the extermination of the Jewish People.

    • Ron Blower

      Ditto, Ken.

    • maria

      Agree. I am afraid that this an act of takiya(deceipt, lie) from the mohammedan side. Their goal is to destroy the Jewish state and as they all say”finish Hitler´s job”. I don´t believe that they want Peace, koran is a criminal war and killing ideology and every mohammedan follows it

  • Emanuel

    This news has been circulating for some time and it’s great news. Israel is doing the right thing by engaging alternative Palestinian factions in discussions about peace. Israel is showing yet again that in terms of results it is a world leader. What matters is achieving a Palestinian state with rights for Palestinians and settling all claims with them as a nation so to deal with the other Islamist radicals who are not neighbors. This puts pressure on the PA from inside and it is important as Palestinians face a leadership challenge.

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