Dahlan and Abbas
Dahlan and Abbas Reuters

Mohammed Dahlan, longtime political rival of Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, has hit back at the PA leader after the latter accused him of collaborating with Israel to assassinate a senior Hamas terrorist.

In an interview with Egypt’s Dream 2 which aired on Sunday, Dahlan slammed Abbas, branding him a “catastrophe” and calling the PA’s peace talks with Israel “a lie.”

The interview was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

“I don’t want to dwell on this ridiculous speech, in which Mahmoud Abbas disgraced himself,” said Dahlan, adding that Abbas “doesn’t mind if other people insult him or if he disgraces himself. He is used to people treating him with contempt. The tragedy is that he harmed Fatah and its history.”

“Egypt can tolerate a defective president like Mohammed Morsi, but the Palestinian people can no longer bear a catastrophe like Mahmoud Abbas,” he continued. “Since the day he came to power, tragedies have struck the Palestinian people. I may be one of the people who bear the blame for bringing this catastrophe upon the Palestinian people. I apologize to the Palestinian people, but we had no other option.”

Dahlan charged, “We supported Abbas when he promised reforms, but he stole the presidency. He promised us to reform Fatah, but he destroyed and disgraced Fatah, just like he did in this speech. This speech is a mark of shame in the history of Fatah and of Mahmoud Abbas.”

“Mahmoud Abbas no longer represents Fatah. He represents the negotiations, the destruction of the PA, the plundering of the PA, and all that is evil in the lives of the Palestinians,” said Dahlan.

He continued to claim that Abbas’s trip to Washington this week was “a trip to pacify [the Americans].”

“Mahmoud Abbas says no pressure is being exerted upon him, and he tells his people to prepare the balloons to celebrate his steadfastness. Balloons?! When Yasser Arafat would travel to Washington, he would prepare the knives before talking about politics,” he added.

A former security chief in Gaza under Fatah, Dahlan was ousted from the party in 2011 and fled to Dubai. His home in Ramallah was later raided by PA security forces.

Fatah's Central Committee said at the time that he was expelled for harming “Palestinian national interests” and coercing outside parties to commit crimes over a number of years.

In the past, Dahlan was also accused by PA officials of sending Israeli arms to former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.

Most recently, Dahlan made headlines again when the Ma’ariv newspaper claimed that Israel was carrying out secret talks with him, in preparation for a scenario in which Abbas steps down because he will refuse to sign an American negotiation framework.