Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas believes that Mohammed Dahlan, the controversial former security commander, is trying to replace him, a source close to Abbas said on Sunday.

The source said that relations between the two men have deteriorated in recent weeks, especially after Abbas removed policemen who were assigned to guard Dahlan’s residence in Ramallah.

Dahlan, who founded and headed the Fatah-controlled Preventative Security Force in the Gaza Strip, moved to the West Bank after Hamas took full control over the strip in 2007.

Last weekend, Abbas ordered the closure of a private TV station owned by Dahlan, who is also a member of the Fatah Central Committee.

Abbas has accused Dahlan of seeking to undermine his authority in the West Bank – an allegation that has been dismissed by Dahlan’s aides as “nonsense.” The order to shut the Falastine Al-Ghad (Palestine Tomorrow) station was signed by the PA Minister of Interior. The station’s offices are located in Ramallah.

All 35 workers of the TV station were asked by the PA to evacuate the offices.

The management of the station said the workers were given paid leave.

Attorney Moussa Mansour, who represents the TV station, said he was surprised by the decision. He said he was planning to challenge the order in a PA court. He also denied that Dahlan was one of the owners of the station.

However, a senior PA official in Ramallah confirmed that the TV station belonged to a company owned by Dahlan.

The official accused Dahlan of challenging Abbas’s authority and stressed that the PA would not tolerate such actions.

Abbas, meanwhile, has ordered an investigation against former PA security officials who were allegedly involved in embezzlement of public funds, Palestinian sources told the pan-Arab Al- Jazeera TV network.

The sources said that a special committee set up by Abbas has started questioning the former officials, including Dahlan, about the source of their wealth.

The committee is also looking into suspicions that Dahlan and others have been “conspiring” to undermine Abbas, the sources said.

Abbas is also considering the possibility of seeking Interpol’s assistance in arresting corrupt officials who fled the Palestinian territories.

Abbas has accused Dahlan of bad-mouthing him and his two sons, Tareq and Yasser, who are wealthy businessmen involved in various economic projects.

Abbas has also accused Dahlan of inciting Fatah leaders against him and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Moreover, Dahlan has been accused of trying to “penetrate” the PA security forces in the West Bank by establishing bases of power among their top brass, the sources added.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger