Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu recently sent Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas a secret communication regarding Abbas' long-time rival Mohammad Dahlan.
According to Netanyahu, the several meetings held between a senior Israeli official and Dahlan were not authorized by him and do not represent the policies of the Israeli government.
Dahlan, a former Fatah official, was expelled by Abbas in 2011. He also lost his parliamentary immunity following allegations of corruption and the murder of Yasser Arafat. He currently lives in the United Arab Emirates.
Both Palestinian and Israeli sources told Walla! News that a senior member of Israel's cabinet held a number of meetings, regarding the Israel-Palestinian conflict, with Dahlan in several European capitals.
Following a report of these meetings, Abbas' associates attempted to determined if they were held on behalf of the Israeli government and its leader - Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Palestinian sources claim that Israeli Security Agency (ISA or Shin Bet) chief Yoram Cohen told Abbas, on behalf of Netanyahu, that these were not official meetings, when he spoke with him in Ramallah just before early elections in Israel were announced.
When asked for comment, both the Israeli official and Dahlan denied any meetings between themselves. Dahlan added that he has no connection to an Israeli minister of any other senior Israeli figure. He further claimed that the publication of these reports are intended for internal Israeli reasons, which he does not wish to be a part of.
Both the Prime Minister's Office and ISA have refrained from comment. However, several different Palestinian and Israeli sources have confirmed the reliability of the reports.
Despite denials of meeting with Israel, Dahlan has been active recently in trying to garner support from the Palestinian people, some of whom already view him as a legitimate successor, announcing Saturday his plans to form a united front in opposition to Abbas.
In an interview with Sky News Arabic, Dahlan called the Palestinian's latest diplomatic move at the United Nations "a disaster" and criticized Abbas for not including Palestinian governmental institutions in the decision-making process.
“Most of the Palestinian people oppose the proposal that [Abbas] put forward," Dahlan said. “This was a hasty and reckless decision that wasn’t made with the unified consensus of the Palestinians. The proposal was changed a number of times without consultation of the decision makers. This was a decision that constitutes a new disaster for relations with Israel which will bring shame and destruction of the Palestinian issue.”
Although a Palestinian conviction in May effectively bars Dahlan from ever running in general or presidential elections, Dahlan's lawyers have suggested this was a desperate measure taken by Abbas, who fears Dahlan will try to remove him from office.