Two years ago former senior Palestine Liberation Organization official Mohammed Dahlan made explosive accusations against Palestinian Authority Chairman and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, accusing him of having stolen $700 million from PA coffers.
Now, Dahlan is suing the PA Chairman for allegedly persecuting him following his exposure of PA corruption.
Dahlan, who once was the top security official in Fatah in Gaza, was arrested by Israel 11 times between 1981 and 1986, learning to speak Hebrew during his terms in prison. Following the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords, Dahlan headed a 20,000-strong security Preventive Security Force in the region that made him once of the most powerful men in the Palestinian Authority.
He developed strong contacts in the CIA and with Israeli intelligence officials, and in 2001 upset then-PA and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat by calling for reforms. In 2003, newly-appointed PA Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas re-appointed Dahlan as PA Minister of State for Security, over Arafat’s objections. Within months, both were out of office, frustrated with the level of corruption in the Arafat ranks.
Dahlan was accused in the December 2006 attempted assassination of de facto Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh as he crossed the border into Egypt, although he rejected the charges. In January 2007, he led a Fatah rally in Gaza, calling Hamas “a bunch of murderers and thieves.” By July 2007, after Fatah was ousted by Hamas from Gaza, Dahlan resigned his post as PA national security adviser – a formality, since Abbas had dissolved the “national security council” by that time.
In July 2011, Dahlan was expelled from Fatah due to allegations that he had murdered Arafat, using poison. PA police raided his home, and his private armed guards were arrested. In June 2012, investigators claimed they had found traces of the radioactive element polonium – a poison – on Arafat’s belongings, increasing suspicions he had died of poisoning.
He has now asked the The International Criminal Court at The Hague to force Abbas to return his property and restore him to the prestigious positions he formerly held in the PA administration, although the legal particulars are not clear.
Dahlan was formerly considered one of the front-runners to replace Abbas. However, a short time after his 2009 appointment to Fatah’s Central Committee, he was accused of attempting to topple Abbas and other PA leaders. He was banned from Fatah meetings and his home was searched as part of a PA investigation.
Dahlan lashed back, accusing Abbas of “trying to establish a dictatorship” in Judea and Samaria. He accused Abbas and his sons of having stolen hundreds of millions of dollars from the PA for personal use.
He has filed multiple lawsuits against Abbas in European courts over the alleged theft. Those suits are ongoing.