Deposed Fatah Central Committee member Muhammad Dahlan returned to the West Bank from Cairo on Friday to answer charges of financial corruption and leading a plot to undermine the Palestinian Authority.
Last month, the Central Committee voted to expel Dahlan from Fatah on charges of murder, financial corruption and conspiring to topple PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
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Dahlan, a former Fatah security commander in the Gaza Strip, has rejected the charges against him, holding Abbas and a number of senior Fatah officials responsible for financial corruption and mismanagement.
Dahlan’s associates said over the weekend that the decision to kick him out of Fatah was the result of a business dispute with Abbas’s sons.
The PA has yet to provide evidence to back charges that Dahlan and his loyalists in the West Bank had amassed weapons in preparation for staging a coup against Abbas.
In recent months, the PA security forces have cracked down on Dahlan
supporters in the West Bank, arresting many of them and closing down
media outlets that were believed to be funded by the ousted Fatah
On Friday, Dahlan entered the West Bank from Jordan via the Allenby Bridge, where he was greeted by scores of his supporters.
He has been living in Cairo since he was forced to leave the West Bank because of the dispute with Abbas.
Dahlan has not been able to return to his home in the Gaza Strip ever
since Hamas took control over the area in the summer of 2007.
Dahlan founded and headed the PA’s Preventive Security Force in the Gaza
Strip after the signing of the Oslo Accords. He and his force had often
been accused of rampant corruption and abuse of human rights.
Upon his arrival in Ramallah, Dahlan dismissed the decision to expel him from Fatah as “illegal.”
He said that the charges against him were not based on any clear
evidence and were only intended to punish him and distort his image.
Dahlan said that he would appear before Fatah’s disciplinary court “armed with justice” this week to prove his innocence.