Abbas ‘feels he’s above the law,’ charges Dahlan

Ousted Fatah strongman says more than $1b. missing from fund handed over to PA president.

Dahlan 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Dahlan 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Ousted Fatah official Muhammad Dahlan over the weekend launched a scathing attack on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, accusing him of dictatorship and financial corruption.
He said that more than $1 billion have gone missing from a fund that was handed over to Abbas after he was elected president in 2005.
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Dahlan’s attack on Abbas came after PA security forces raided the former Fatah commander’s home in Ramallah on Thursday, arresting his bodyguards and confiscating weapons and armored vehicles.
Dahlan was at home during the raid, which was carried out by dozens of security officers, but was not detained thanks to his parliamentary immunity.
Shortly thereafter, Dahlan left for Jordan through the Allenby Bridge, where he gave a series of interviews to Arab media outlets in which he strongly condemned Abbas, 76, and accused him of financial corruption and seeking to destroy Fatah.
“Abbas does not recognize any law, morals or values,” Dahlan said, referring to the raid on his home and last month’s decision to expel him from the Fatah Central Committee.
“Abbas feels that he’s above the law.”
Dahlan said that the dispute between Fatah and Hamas, and Israel’s presence in the West Bank, gave Abbas a “free hand to practice dictatorship against the Palestinian people, silence people and deny them their salaries.”
Dahlan said that the dispute with the PA president erupted after he demanded to know what had happened to $1.3b. that was in the account of the Palestinian Investment Fund.
The PIF was established in 2000 as an independent Palestinian investment company “committed to maximizing the assets’ value for its shareholder: the Palestinian people.”
According to its website, PIF’s chief objective is “to safeguard and consolidate the Palestinian people’s investments and property, both in Palestine and abroad.”
Dahlan said that after the death of Yasser Arafat, the responsibility for the fund was transferred to Abbas in 2005.
“This is money that Yasser Arafat had collected from Palestinian taxpayers for the day that we would need it,” Dahlan explained. “There aren’t more black days than today, where our employees are not receiving salaries. Why doesn’t he pay from this fund, which he controls personally? The PLO does not know about this sum.
This is documented money that was delivered to him [Abbas] from an international accounting company.”
Dahlan said that when he exposed the issue of the PIF last April, Abbas got furious. “He thinks that the sun can be covered with a sieve,” he added.
“Yasser Arafat worked strenuously to save this money for the ‘black day.’ Mahmoud Abbas thinks that the people don’t know where this money is and who received it. Now he’s admitting that there is only $700 million in the fund.
But the real sum should be about $2b.”
Dahlan, who headed the PA Preventive Security Force in the Gaza Strip after the signing of the Oslo Accords, also claimed that Abbas was furious with him because he had been badmouthing the PA president’s two sons, Yasser and Tareq, who are wealthy businessmen.
Dahlan said that Abbas was mistaken if he thought that he could make charges against him without expecting a reply.
Dahlan said that he respected Palestinian laws by arriving in Ramallah last week to file a petition with a Fatah disciplinary court against his expulsion from the faction. “I didn’t sneak into Ramallah or arrive secretly,” he said. “I came in a public way and with my own legs.”
Abbas does not want law and order to prevail, Dahlan charged. “He sent his forces to intimidate Palestinian leaders to keep them silent about his political, national and moral crimes.”
Dahlan was also quoted as saying that Abbas has always hated Fatah and now wants to destroy it.
“Abbas is trying to cover up for his political, organizational and internal failures,” Dahlan said. “Fatah has lost the Gaza Strip, the parliament and even the municipal elections. In his era, we have become without a political horizon and there’s no hope for Palestinians. We are in a pathetic situation.”
Senior Fatah officials in Ramallah said that if Dahlan returned to the West Bank, he would be immediately arrested and charged with “financial corruption, murder, extortion and collaboration with outside forces.”
The officials said that the offenses were committed during the period that Dahlan was in charge of the Preventative Security Force in the Gaza Strip.
The Abbas-Dahlan rivalry has caused significant damage to Fatah, one official told The Jerusalem Post. “Hamas is already celebrating the infighting in Fatah and is now saying that the accusations against Dahlan prove that Hamas was right when it kicked the Palestinian Authority out of the Gaza Strip in 2007.”
The dispute is also threatening to spark a confrontation between Fatah supporters in the West Bank and those in the Gaza Strip. Dahlan continues to enjoy widespread support among many Fatah cadres in the Strip.
Over the weekend, Dahlan supporters in the Gaza Strip expressed outrage over Abbas’s measures against the former Fatah commander. Some pointed out that Abbas and Dahlan had been strong political allies for many years.