Ousted Fatah official Muhammad Dahlan accused Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his confidants of taking part in negotiations with Israel for their own political and financial benefit, and not in order to win rights for the Palestinian people.
Speaking in an interview with Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida, Dahlan, a long-time rival of Abbas and the former security commander in the Gaza Strip, said that he was not against the principle of negotiations, however the talks in their current form constitute "a crime against the people fighting for freedom."
Dahlan said that Abbas had put together a negotiating team that was ensuring him and a narrow circle around him Israeli and American support without any regard for the plight of the Palestinian people.
He accused the Palestinian negotiators of "filling their sacks."
Dahlan said that the Palestinians were "in a weak negotiating position" because of Abbas and subject to "the cheap blackmail of the US administration."
Relations between Abbas and Dahlan have deteriorated over the past few years, prompting the PA president to expel him from Fatah. Dahlan, who has since been waging a campaign against Abbas, is currently living in the United Arab Emirates.
Last year, a Fatah official closely associated with Dahlan was shot and wounded in Jenin. Shami al-Shami, who is also a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, took two bullets to the thigh.
Although no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks on Dahlan’s associates, sources in Ramallah said that Fatah gunmen loyal to Abbas were apparently behind the shootings.
The sources pointed out that the perpetrators had never been caught – a sign that they were affiliated with Abbas or the Fatah-dominated PA security forces in the West Bank.
Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.