Fatah says Dahlan poisoned Arafat

Fatah says Dahlan poisoned Arafat

[ 07/08/2011 – 07:29 PM ]

From Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank



A panel of high-ranking Fatah leaders has accused former Gaza strongman Muhammed Dahlan of complicity in poisoning the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Afafat died of a mysterious illness at a French hospital in 2004 after a short illness. His Jordanian doctor asserted that the possibility of a “foul play” was very high.

The panel, comprising the head of Fatah’s parliamentary caucus Azzam al-Ahmad, his deputy Tayyeb Abdul Rahim, as well as Othman Abu Gharbiyeh and Nabil Shaath, also accused Dahlan of having planned a military coup in the West Bank and of liquidating Palestinian leaders.
According to the panel’s report, letters have been sent to Palestinian ambassadors around the world instructing them to refrain from having any dealings with Dahlan. The Interpol has also been asked to arrest Dahlan.

Dahlan was fired from Fatah recently following charges he planned a coup against Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas.

Last week, PA security forces raided Dahlan’s home in Ramallah, confiscating weapons and arresting security guards.

Dahlan consistently denied any wrong doings, insisting that he was the target of a vindictive witch-hunt campaign by detractors and political enemies.

According to the report, Dahlan was formally charged with bringing poisoned medicine into Arafat’s quarter in Ramallah.

“When Arafat was being treated in Paris, Dahlan met an official of the Presidential Guard in Ramallah, and instructed him to burn all the medicine belonging to Arafat.”

Assassination of Kamal Midhat,

Dahlan was also interrogated in connection with his alleged implication in the perpetration of several assassinations of Palestinian political, media and business figures, including Kamal Midhat, Hussein Abu Ajwa and Hesham Makki. The latter was the head of the Palestinian Radio and Television Corporation.

Furthermore, Dahlan was questioned over several corruption cases including taking over public funds for his private businesses and illegally levying taxes when he was Preventive Security Chief in Gaza from 1994-2001. He was also investigated with regard to deposited funds in banks in Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, and Montenegro .

Dahlan was further investigated concerning his purchase of a Jordanian weekly called Sheehan as well as his funding of the al-Ghad Jordanian satellite television station.

He reportedly claimed that the satellite TV project was a commercial enterprise with nationalistic goals. However, operatives at the TV station reportedly told investigators that Dahlan instructed them to attack PLO official Yasser Abed Rabbo and Chairman Abbas.

Other charges accused Dahlan of targeting the presidential office and other governmental and security premises in Ramallah where he reportedly sought to recruit officers and officials.

Dahlan reportedly sought to recruit a high-ranking officer in the Presidential Guard named Abu Awadh. However, when the latter refused, he was arrested by the Israeli occupation authorities, which suggests that Dahlan may have worked in concert with the Israeli intelligence.

The former Gaza strongman was also charged with implanting eavesdropping gadgets in a number of security and ministerial buildings. Dahlan denied the charges.

He was also charged with purchasing firearms from Arab arms dealers inside Israel for the purpose of using the weapons in a possible coup against Chairman Abbas.

Finally, Dahlan was charged with receiving the sum $300,000 from U.S. Gen. Keith Dayton in 2005 for the purpose of forming his own security forces in Gaza as well as embezzling money that would have gone to rehabilitating vacated Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip.

Dahlan denied all these charges.

Sounding defiant and totally unrepentant, Dahlan lambasted Abbas, accusing him of “dictatorship, despotism and tyranny,” saying the “shamefulness” of the raid on his home in Ramallah would continue to haunt the Palestinian leader for a long time to come.

“I am a member of Fatah, and I will continue to be part of it. Fatah is not a private property of Abu Mazen (Abbas’s de guerre). Fatah is the responsibility of its sons, and if Abu Mazen hates the movement and wants to leave, let him leave..”

Dahlan told the London-based al Hayat newspaper last week his differences with the Palestinian leader didn’t have a nationalistic background.

“He (Abbas) couldn’t bear seeing me criticize some of his policies, such as raising the fate of Fatah’s money and the Investment Fund. In the final analysis, Abbas founded a petty dictatorship for himself under the Israeli occupation.”

Dahlan denied that he had been imposed on the Palestinian leadership by a foreign entity (a possible allusion to the United States or Israel ), saying such a thing would have been dishonorable for Abu Mazen himself.

Accusing the Palestinian leader of “breaking all the lofty and noble values with which we grew up, Dahlan vowed to continue to uncover the truth. He added, “I will do every thing in accordance with the law, and I won’t resort to revenge as Abbas has done.”

Finally, Dahlan accused Abbas of ingratitude.

“I defended him when people were accusing him of being a traitor and Israeli collaborator. I stood with him because I wanted to see a respectable establishment take root…I was with him when everyone else was against him.
“My impression is that he wanted to vent his frustration, having utterly failed in the peace process. Under his leadership, we lost every thing, we lost Gaza , we lost the elections, we became without a political horizon, and the overall Palestinian situation is very very bad. The man simply hates Fatah, wants to dismantle it in a systematic manner, step by step.”

The showdown between the Dahlan and Abbas camps seems far from over. Dahlan, say people close to him, is overconfident, overambitious, defiant and diehard. He also has a hardcore of supporters in the Gaza Strip as well as a few hundred Gazan followers who fled to the West Bank after Hamas took over the coastal enclave in the summer of 2007.

According to some commentators, Dahlan is hoping to retain an ability to make things hard for Abbas, which would eventually force the Palestinian leader to mend relations with him on a more favorable basis.

“Dahlan will never give up; he will never abandon his quest for leadership. He is willing to do anything to realize his goal,” said a Gaza journalist familiar with Dahlan’s way of thinking.

“He thinks that by being overly vociferous, he can make things hard for Abbas, who is an old man.”

None the less, Dahlan’s quest for leadership may well be his own worst enemy. The problem, however, is that the former strongman of Gaza who was once thought to be a likely successor to Yasser Arafat, doesn’t read the Palestinian political map very well.
He seems oblivious of the deep political changes occurring in occupied Palestine ever since the death of Arafat, seven years ago.

Besides, his popularity in the West Bank is quite weak.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

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