dahlan smaller 298.
(photo credit: AP [file])
Former Palestinian Authority security commander Muhammad Dahlan has rejected an offer from Hamas to enter the Gaza Strip to attend the funeral of his mother, who died over the weekend.
Dahlan's 80-year-old mother, Suraya, lived in his hometown of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. She and most members of Dahlan's clan did not flee the Gaza Strip after the Hamas takeover in the summer of 2007.
Dahlan, who has since been shuttling between Ramallah and Cairo, has not entered the Gaza Strip since the surrender of the PA security forces to Hamas.
Hamas claimed then that Dahlan was involved in a US-led conspiracy to overthrow its government and that he had helped Israel assassinate some of the Islamist movement's top leaders.
Shortly after the death of his mother, the Hamas government announced that it would permit Dahlan to enter the Gaza Strip for "humanitarian reasons," provided that he would not exploit the visit for "factional or propaganda purposes."
Following the announcement, several Palestinians in the Gaza Strip whose sons were allegedly killed by Dahlan loyalists over the past few years called for the arrest of the former security chief. Others threatened to harm Dahlan physically if he entered the Gaza Strip.
PA security sources in Ramallah said that Israel and the US had advised Dahlan against traveling to the Gaza Strip out of concern for his safety.
Dahlan said on Monday that he had rejected the offer to attend his mother's funeral because he didn't want to visit the Gaza Strip while it was still under the control of Hamas. He explained that he had decided not to go because he did not wish to spark "clashes and confrontations that would hurt Fatah members."