Mohammed Dahlan, the chief political rival of Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas, announced on Wednesday that a new shipment of coronavirus vaccines is making its way to the Gaza Strip, Israel Hayom reported.
The vaccines are funded by the UAE, where Dahlan has been staying since he was run out of Ramallah.
The vaccines in question are 40,000 doses of the Russian Sputnik 5 vaccine, which are expected to arrive on Thursday through the Rafah crossing.
This marks the second time that Dahlan has arranged a delivery of vaccines to Gaza. Several weeks ago, he orchestrated a shipment of around 20,000 coronavirus vaccine doses from the United Arab Emirates to Gaza, calling the shipment a “generous grant” from the UAE “at a sensitive time where the pandemic is targeting all our beloved.”
A former security chief in Gaza for Fatah, Dahlan was ousted from the party in 2011 and fled to Dubai. His home in Ramallah was later raided by PA security forces.
Abbas has accused Dahlan of, among other things, collaborating with Israel to eliminate a senior Hamas terrorist in 2002.
Dahlan was sentenced in absentia in 2016 to three years in prison for allegedly embezzling $16 million while serving as a cabinet minister.
He remains in the UAE, where he is advising the ruling family on Palestinian Arab affairs.
Dahlan has long been considered a legitimate threat to succeed Abbas as PA chairman. Due to this, Abbas has taken a series of steps to block Dahlan's possible return to a leadership position in Fatah. In one incident, Dahlan’s associates were not invited to the Fatah congress and Abbas’ associates were elected to senior positions.
More recently, the Fatah movement turned down a proposal by Dahlan to run on a joint list in the upcoming elections.