Mohammed Dahlan hints he may run in PA presidential election

Dahlan claimed that Abbas refused to accept vaccines from the UAE.

Palestinians hold posters of Mohammed Dahlan during a Gaza rally, December 18, 2014 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinians hold posters of Mohammed Dahlan during a Gaza rally, December 18, 2014
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Deposed Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan hinted on Wednesday that he was planning to run in the upcoming Palestinian presidential election, saying Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has failed his people over the past 15 years and will not be the only candidate.
“Abbas has only brought poverty, sickness and stress to the Palestinian people,” Dahlan said in an interview with the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya television news channel. “He is the leader of the Palestinian people, and as such, he bears responsibility for the failure. He has destroyed the dignity of the Palestinians. What are Abbas’s achievements over the past 15 years? One big zero.”
Under Abbas, Dahlan said, the West Bank and Gaza Strip were divided and Israel “reoccupied the West Bank.”
The Palestinians, Dahlan cautioned, will not achieve a Palestinian state unless they change their political system. “If we don’t change our Palestinian reality, we won’t achieve our national rights,” he said.
Dahlan, who was expelled from Fatah in 2011 and has since been living in the United Arab Emirates, said that he represents those “who refused to serve as slaves of Abbas and his regime.”
The deposed leader said that his new movement, the Democratic Reform Current, would participate in the upcoming Palestinian elections. “If the elections are fair, the list representing Abbas would be in a difficult situation,” he said.
Dahlan did not rule out the possibility that he would run in the PA presidential election. He clarified, however, that his movement would decide who would run in the parliamentary and presidential elections.
“I want to assure Abbas that he will not be the only candidate in the presidential election,” Dahlan said. “Abbas is not aware of this because he’s living on a different planet.”
PA officials said that Dahlan would not be allowed to present his candidacy for the presidential election, set to take place on July 13, because he had been convicted of embezzlement of public funds by a Palestinian court in Ramallah.
“Abbas does not accept a different view,” he said. “Our movement seeks a fundamental change in the Palestinian political system.”
Asked whether his movement has forged an alliance with Hamas, Dahlan replied: “I can’t say that we are allies, but at least we are not in a state of conflict. I’m the one who initiated the reconciliation [with Hamas].”
Hamas in recent weeks has allowed scores of Dahlan loyalists who fled the Gaza Strip in the past decade to return to the coastal enclave. In the past week, two leading Dahlan loyalists, Rashid Abu Shbak and Majed Abu Shamaleh, returned to the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.
Dahlan said that he was expelled from Fatah in accordance with a personal decision from Abbas.
“I don’t blame the Fatah leaders who approved the decision because they are weak and powerless,” he said. “They do what Abbas tells them. This is what happened with Nasser al-Kidwa.”
Kidwa, a nephew of former PLO leader Yasser Arafat and a former PA foreign minister, was recently expelled from Fatah because of his decision to form a new list to contest the Palestinian elections.
According to Dahlan, Abbas preferred to reach an agreement with Hamas on the elections so that he could remain in power. He criticized the president for issuing new laws ahead of the elections.
“Abbas wants to choose the candidates and the voters,” Dahlan said. “He wants to decide on everything in order to renew his legitimacy.”
Palestinians voted for Abbas in 2005 because he promised to achieve three things, Dahlan noted.
“Abbas promised to reform and strengthen Fatah, reform the corrupt Palestinian Authority, and achieve an honorable peace [with Israel],” he said. “Abbas did not achieve any of the three goals.”
Dahlan denied that he was an agent of the UAE and other international parties.
“The United Arab Emirates has no ambitions in the Palestinian issue,” he said, adding that it is “the second Arab country, after Saudi Arabia, that provides financial support for the Palestinian people.”
He accused Abbas of refusing vaccines against corona that were donated by the UAE to the West Bank.
“Abbas accepted 2,000 vaccines from Israel and gave them to his associates and relatives,” he said, noting that he has coordinated the delivery of thousands of UAE-supplied vaccines to the Gaza Strip. “We are prepared to send vaccines to the West Bank, but Abbas won’t accept them.”