Dahlan is involved in various “charity projects” including financing mass weddings in impoverished Gaza. But it is not Dahlan’s money that Hamas is seeking; rather the hope that he mediates with Egypt to ease movement on the Rafah-Egypt border.
With a growing clout and rising number of benefactors, Dahlan’s resurrection is assured, but imposing him on an embattled Fatah faction in the West Bank remains uncertain.
To preclude Dahlan’s attempt at regaining his status within Fatah, Abbas’s PA forces in the occupied West Bank have been conducting arrests of Dahlan’s supporters. The latter’s armed men are retaliating and clashes have been reported in various parts of the West Bank.
Moreover, Abbas has called for the seventh Fatah conference to be held sometime later this month, where the Abbas faction within Fatah is likely to rearrange the various committees to ensure Dahlan’s supporters are weakened, if not permanently removed.
Considering Dahlan’s strong support base and his ability to win followers using his access to wealth and regional allies, a move against his followers is likely to backfire, splitting the party, or worse, leading to an armed conflict. Despite Israel’s intentional silence, there are also reports that Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who was tied to Dahlan repeatedly in the past, is keen on ensuring the return of Dahlan at the helm of Fatah.
Tragically, the power struggle rarely involves ordinary Palestinian people, who remain alone facing the Israeli military machine, the growing illegal Jewish settlements, the suffocating siege, while persisting under an unprecedented leadership vacuum.
This is one of the enduring legacies of the Oslo Accords, which divides Palestinians into classes: a powerful class that is subsidised by “donor countries” and is used to serve the interests of the US, Israel and regional powers, and the vast majority of people, barely surviving on handouts and resisting under growing odds.
This strange contradiction has become the shameful reality of Palestine, and regardless of what the power struggle between Abbas and Dahlan brings, most Palestinians will find themselves facing the same dual enemy, military occupation, on the one hand, and their leadership’s own acquiescence and #corruption, on the other.