Former Fatah security commander Muhammad Dahlan on Tuesday denied that he had
plotted to stage a coup against Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud
On Sunday, Dahlan returned to Ramallah from Egypt to answer
questions by members of a commission of inquiry that was set up by Abbas to look
into the allegations.
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Dahlan said that the questions focused on whether
he had been bad-mouthing Abbas and his two sons, Tareq and Yasser, who are
wealthy businessmen. “After spending two hours with the commission of
inquiry, I reached the conclusion that there’s really no case against me,”
Dahlan said. “The questions were reasonable and I was asked whether I had said
some bad things about the president’s sons.”
The latest dispute between
Abbas and Dahlan erupted after a PA minister secretly recorded Dahlan during a
meeting with Fatah activists in the West Bank.
In the recordings, Dahlan
is heard saying that Abbas travels around the world mainly to promote the
businesses of his sons. Dahlan is also heard describing Abbas as a weak leader
who is not capable of governing or negotiating with Israel.
that he and his supporters in the West Bank had been stockpiling weapons in
preparation for a coup against Abbas.
“Until now I don’t know the reason
behind the crisis,” Dahlan said. “I hear about weapons and a coup, but I haven’t
seen anything so far. Where are the weapons? I’ve been hearing imaginary
Dahlan condemned as “disgraceful” the arrest of dozens of his
supporters and friends in the West Bank in recent weeks by the PA security
He said he was particularly outraged by the arrest earlier this
week of Mu’taz Khdeir, the director of his bureau in Ramallah.
is the director of the office of a member of the Fatah Central Committee,”
Dahlan said. “Has it become an offense to work for Dahlan’s bureau?”
expressed “regret” over the Fatah Central Committee’s recent decision to prevent
him from attending its meetings.
A top aide to Abbas admitted, meanwhile,
that the main talk about a possible coup against the PA president was
“I believe we are talking about a personal or business
dispute between Abbas’s sons and Mohammed Dahlan,” the aide said. “I believe
that many of the reports that talked about a coup are exaggerated.”
three-man commission of inquiry consists of Fatah officials Azzam al-Ahmed,
Othman Abu Gharbiyeh and Sakher Bsaiso. It had originally been headed by Abu
Maher Ghneim, deputy chairman of the Fatah Central Committee.
resigned last week after Abbas rejected his initial recommendation to close the
case with an apology from Dahlan.