Strongman Dahlan takes on Hamas

Warns Hamas that cabinet, security forces will be subordinate to Abbas.

dahlan voting 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
dahlan voting 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Former Palestinian Authority security Chief Muhammed Dahlan on Wednesday warned Hamas against trying to take control over the PA security forces, saying the new cabinet would be subordinate to PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas and the PLO. Together with several hundred Fatah activists in the Gaza Strip, Dahlan is spearheading a campaign designed to prevent Hamas from controlling the security forces and finances of the PA.
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"There will be no major changes in the Palestinian security establishment," Dahlan said, referring to reports that Hamas was planning to take control over the security forces after it forms a new cabinet. "Any changes in the security establishment must be approved by President Abbas and the PLO. No one would be able to change the status of any security officer." The PA's security forces consist solely of Fatah activists and officials who are strongly opposed to Hamas's intention to carry out major reforms in the security establishment. PA security commanders met lately with Abbas and told him that they would not carry out any order issued by a Hamas-appointed Interior Minister. "Hamas received a mandate to run the cabinet, which will report to Abbas and the PLO leadership," Dahlan said. "Those who won the parliamentary election should therefore establish a new cabinet and carry out their promises to the people." Dahlan said Fatah would not join a Hamas-led cabinet "because their political, social and economic plan is totally different from ours." Sources close to Hamas told The Jerusalem Post that Dahlan and his followers have begun collecting weapons from PA security installations in the Gaza Strip so that they would not fall into Hamas's hands. According to the sources, thousands of AK-47 rifles have been distributed to Fatah activists, who were told by Dahlan to be on a high state of alert to foil any attempt by Hamas to take control of the security forces. Adnan Asfour, a top Hamas official in the West Bank, said that his movement had plans to reduce the number of the Palestinian security forces from 11 to three. He said Hamas was also planning to place the security forces under the jurisdiction of the new Interior Minister. Asfour said the security forces were over-inflated and that salaries were being paid to people who never served in the security establishment. Asked if Hamas was planning to recruit its member to the security forces, the Hamas official said this issue was not relevant at this stage because of the financial crisis in the PA. He said security officials whose names have been linked to corruption or who had broken the law would be prosecuted and punished. In another sign of growing tensions between the two parties in the wake of last week's parliamentary election, the former commander of the PA's Preventative Security Force in the Gaza Strip, Suleiman Abu Mutlek, accused Hamas of standing behind an assassination attempt on his life. Unidentified gunmen on Wednesday morning detonated an explosive charge outside Mutlek's home in Khan Yunis, but no one was injured. "This crime is Hamas's gift to the Palestinian Authority following the parliamentary election," Mutlek, a close ally of Dahlan, said. Following the attack, Fatah gunmen fired several shots at the home of Nur al-Din Barakeh, a senior member of Hamas's military wing in Khan Yunis. Earlier this week, Fatah gunmen shot and seriously wounded Khaled Abu Anzah, another top Hamas commander in Khan Yunis, the hometown of Dahlan. Hamas officials accused Dahlan and his followers of standing behind the attacks on its members and threatened to retaliate.