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Former Fatah security commander Muhammad Dahlan is unlikely to return to the Palestinian territories in the near future after heading over the weekend to Germany for medical treatment.
Fatah officials in Ramallah told The Jerusalem Post that Dahlan, who already underwent surgery on his knees in a German hospital earlier this year, would not return to the political scene, at least not in the next few months.
"Dahlan's health condition doesn't allow him to return to his previous work," the officials said. "He will undergo more treatment in Germany and, if required, he may have to be moved to the US for further treatment."
Analysis: Abbas may have sacrificed Dahlan
Although the officials claimed that Dahlan was suffering from acute epilepsy, other sources in Ramallah said they were convinced that he was suffering from a more serious disease. The sources pointed out that Dahlan had been seen walking with the aid of crutches in the past few days.
Dahlan has come under heavy criticism from many senior Fatah officials for his role in the Hamas-Fatah fighting in the Gaza Strip. Hani al-Hassan, a former PA interior minister and member of Fatah's "revolutionary council," demanded that Dahlan be held accountable for allying himself with the US and Israel.
Dahlan was recovering from surgery in Cairo when Hamas seized the Gaza Strip last month. Hamas militiamen raided and looted Dahlan's villa in Gaza City, accusing him of spearheading US efforts to overthrow the Hamas-led government.
Hamas officials said they were planning to demolish the villa and build a mosque in its place. They also said that Dahlan would never be allowed to return to the Gaza Strip as long as Hamas is in power there.
News of Dahlan's departure coincided with reports that the PA had laid its hands on $7m. that were found in his bank accounts. The government of Salaam Fayad denied the reports, but a senior PA official said that Dahlan and several senior Fatah leaders had been questioned about their personal fortunes by a special commission of inquiry that was established by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas after Hamas's takeover of the Gaza Strip.