'Abbas shuts down web sites run by Dahlan supporters'

Activists claim move is part of PA president's punitive measures against former Fatah security commander; five sites blocked in total.

Mahmoud Abbas_521 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Mahmoud Abbas_521
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Palestinian Authority has blocked five Fatah-affiliated web sites, Fatah activists said over the weekend.
The activists named the sites as Kofia Press, Pal Voice, Firas Press, Amad and Falasteen Baituna.
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They said that decision to close down the sites was in the context of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s punitive measures against former Fatah security commander Mohammed Dahlan.
Abbas has accused Dahlan of plotting to topple the PA regime in the West Bank – an allegation that has been strongly denied by Dahlan.
The web sites that were blocked are run by supporters of Dahlan in the Gaza Strip, the activists said.
The Fatah Central Committee has suspended Dahlan pending the findings of a special commission of inquiry that was established to investigate his alleged involvement in the plot.
A Fatah official in Ramallah said that Abbas is now seeking to expel Dahlan from Fatah and declare him persona non grata in the Palestinian territories.
The official claimed that Dahlan, with the help of “foreign elements,” has long been trying to undermine and discredit the PA leadership and Abbas.
Last year the Palestinian Authority also closed down a private TV station owned by Dahlan loyalists in the West Bank.
In response, Dahlan said in a YouTube address to his supporters that the PA leadership’s actions were unjustified. He strongly denied that he had conspired to topple Abbas.
According to Dahlan, the dispute with Abbas began over trivial issues and was later blown out of proportion.
Dahlan accused some of Abbas’s aides of inciting the PA president against him. “They have convinced President Abbas that he’s God and that he can do anything he wants,” he said without naming the aides.
The closure of the web sites drew strong criticism from many Fatah activists.
“The onslaught against us is escalating and is coming from all directions,” said activist Abu al-Mutasam Abdallah. “The sword of the enemy is stabbing us from the back, the dagger [of Hamas] from the back and the knife of the friend from the neck,” he commented.
“Our body is bleeding from the multiple stabs. Who benefits from the silencing of the voice and heartbeat of Fatah? This is a shameful decision.”