(photo credit: JPost Staff)
Former Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan had been voted out of the
movement, according to a report posted on Sunday on the website of
Palestinian news agency Ma’an. Dahlan ouster was reportedly decided by
the Fatah Central Committee, and according to Al-Jazeera, Palestinian
Authority President and Fatah chairman Mahmoud Abbas approved the
decision. Dahlan was reportedly kicked out following an inquiry that
found his conduct tainted by corruption and crimes.
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Some of the central committee members denied the Ma’an report, saying Dahlan was never expelled from the party.
Earlier this week it was reported that Abbas had shut down Fatah-affiliated web sites
run by Dahlan supporters.
In January,Dahlan rejected claims of an
attempted military coup against Abbas, calling them fantastical. Dahlan stated that the investigation confirmed his negative statements concerning
Mahmoud Abbas's sons, but did not reveal any personal involvement with a
weapons cache or a possible coup, London-based Arabic language daily Al-Hayat reported.
initial conflict between Abbas and Dahlan arose after recordings surfaced of
Dahlan speaking ill of Abbas and the need to replace him with another
leader. Dahlan was then suspended from his seat in Fatah's Central
Committee and had his personal security removed. Offices for a new
television channel to which Dahlan was closely involved were also closed
by Abbas. Dahlan was expected to travel to Jordan and wait there for the
results of his investigation, scheduled to be released next weekend.
Palestinian media outlets affiliated with Hamas also reported in January that a wave of PA arrests against loyalists of Dahlan came in reaction to a coup Dahlan was planning to undertake in the West Bank.
The reports, quoting unnamed Fatah officials, cited a Fatah central committee decision to freeze Dahlan's membership in Fatah until a special investigative committee into his actions reaches its conclusions.
Dahlan denied the reports, telling the Al Arabiya TV network "the accusation that I conspired against Abu Mazen is inconceivable." He said the sources spreading the accusations were trying to cause an internal rift inside Fatah.
The report came after Palestinian Authority security forces over the weekend arrested Dahlan's bureau director.
Sources in Ramallah said that Mu’taz Khdeir, who has been working with
Dahlan for the past few years, was arrested for “security reasons.”
Palestinians said that the Dahlan affair marked the biggest challenge to
Abbas’s authority since Hamas drove the PA out of the Gaza Strip in
Private TV and radio stations owned by Dahlan have also been closed down in the context of the clampdown.