'PA’s assaults, arrests Dahlan supporters
Gaza post ||
Palestinian Authority security officials have detained 49 Palestinians on suspicion of being linked with deposed Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan according to a spokesman for the Dahlan-led Democratic Reform Current.
According to the spokesperson, Dimitri Diliani, another 150 Palestinians have been detained or summoned for questioning by PA security personnel for the same reason.
The PA's assault on Dahlan supporters in the West Bank began on May 25, Diliani disclosed, during US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's visit to Ramallah.
Diliani, a resident of east Jerusalem, is regarded as one of the most vocal and prominent opposition figures in the West Bank. A former member of the Fatah “Revolutionary Council,” he is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Hamilton Software Co. and the Palestinian Company for Hospitality Services.
The unprecedented clampdown has mostly targeted protesters and candidates affiliated with the Dahlan-aligned Al-Mustaqbal list in the parliamentary election scheduled for May 22.
In the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and east Jerusalem, the list contains thousands of members. The majority of them are former PA security officers and dissatisfied Fatah activists.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas postponed the parliamentary and presidential elections (scheduled for July 31) in late April, claiming that Israel had refused to authorize his proposal to hold the poll in Jerusalem.
Many Palestinians, on the other hand, believe that Abbas called off the polls due to a split in his ruling Fatah movement, which he fears may result in a Hamas victory.
Fatah was scheduled to run three separate lists in the parliamentary election, including Abbas supporters, Dahlan supporters, and members of a new party led by Nasser al-Qidwa, a former PA foreign minister.
Since Abbas announced the election cancellation, scores of Hamas sympathizers, Palestinian political activists, and social media users have been arrested or summoned for questioning by PA security forces, some of whom have been accused of "insulting" prominent Palestinian leaders.
During last month's war with Israel, some Hamas sympathizers were accused of attending demonstrations in support of the Gaza-based terrorist group.
Dahlan, who is based in the United Arab Emirates, previously worked for the Palestinian Authority as a security commander in Gaza. After a falling out with Abbas, he was expelled from Fatah in 2011. He has been accused of financial corruption by the PA leadership.
Mohammed Nazzal and Wesam Ghuneim, both candidates on the Al-Mustaqbal electoral ticket, are among the 49 Dahlan loyalists now detained by the PA.
They were interrogated, along with other Dahlan loyalists, about their ties to the deposed Fatah leader and the source of funds for their electoral list and election operations.
“While President Abbas was meeting with Secretary of State Blinken in Ramallah, the campaign of arrests against Al-Mustaqbal activists and volunteers began,” Diliani stated. “President Abbas was emboldened by Blinken's visit, which came after a conflict between the PA and the US during the last US administration, and he targeted the Al-Mustaqbal list, which is the most dangerous to his [Fatah] party. In short, Abbas took advantage of Blinken's visit and regarded it as US political support to silence his political opponents and critics.”
According to Diliani, the Dahlan supporters were targeted by PA security personnel because of their role in exposing systemic corruption within the Palestinian leadership's upper echelons. “Moreover, unlike the Abbas loyalists in Fatah, our soldiers are being targeted because they have a decent reputation,” he continued.
When asked about the Palestinian Authority's assertions that Dahlan and his men were seeking to destabilize Palestinian leadership in the West Bank, Diliani claimed the PA's "poor performance" was enough to weaken it without outside interference.
Dahlan supporters, according to Diliani, have asked Arab countries to intervene with the PA to end the security crackdown. He explained, "This is a Palestinian domestic matter." “We are adamant about keeping people out of our internal affairs.”
Abbas, according to Diliani, has utilized repressive methods "against anyone who disagrees with him." He emphasized that, despite the onslaught, Dahlan supporters will continue their political activities and seek free elections.