Dahlan returning to West Bank to answer coup charges

Source close to Dahlan accuses Abbas of being “paranoid”; Fatah Central Committee suspends former Fatah security commander.

December 29, 2010 20:07
2 minute read.
Fatah official Muhammad Dahlan

dahlan 311. (photo credit: AP)


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Former Fatah security commander Muhammad Dahlan announced on Wednesday he plans to return to the West Bank this week to answer allegations that he plotted a coup against the Palestinian Authority leadership.

A special commission of inquiry established by PA President Mahmoud Abbas is also trying to establish the sources of Dahlan’s personal fortune.

Fatah launches investigation into Mohammed Dahlan
Palestinian Affairs: Abbas’s biggest threat

A source close to Dahlan accused Abbas of being “paranoid,” claiming the dispute between the two men began after Dahlan accused Abbas’s two sons of exploiting their father’s position to make millions of dollars.

Dahlan’s announcement came one day after the Fatah Central Committee, in an unprecedented move, voted unanimously to suspend his membership in the committee pending the end of the inquiry.

The decision means that Dahlan, who is currently residing in Cairo, will not be able to attend meetings of the Fatah committee.

The committee also voted to remove Dahlan from his position as “holder of the information and cultural portfolio” in Fatah.

Earlier this month, the PA closed down a TV station owned by Dahlan in Ramallah.

He said he had reservations about the way the committee chose to publish its measures against him, and that he was prepared to answer all questions presented to him by members of the inquiry commission.

Dahlan said that to date, the Fatah Central Committee had not notified him of the measures against him.

He added that it was “inappropriate” for Fatah to discuss its internal affairs in the media.

He also hinted that the dispute between him and Abbas was personal.

“Some in Fatah have been trying for the past two months to make this look as if it’s a political crisis related to the divisions [with Hamas] and the conflict with the Israeli government,” he said without elaborating.

Dahlan said he did not want to be responsible for weakening Fatah and therefore agreed to cooperate with the first commission of inquiry Abbas had established to look into the charges against him.

“I went to the first commission of inquiry and answered all their questions,” he said. “But President Mahmoud Abbas did not like the findings of that commission and decided to establish a new one.”

Dahlan, who founded and headed the PA’s Preventive Security Force in the Gaza Strip after the signing of the Oslo Accords, strongly denied allegations that he and his supporters had been stockpiling weapons and ammunition in preparation for toppling the PA leadership in the West Bank.

“These false claims and fabrications are aimed at defaming Fatah,” Dahlan said. “I only have a few guards and light weapons.

The guards were taken away before the commission of inquiry began its work.”

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