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Imogen Lambert

Dahlan calls for inclusion of Hamas in PLO

Dahlan confers with Hamas hardliner Mohmoud Zaher during a Palestinian parliament meeting in 2003 [AFP]

Date of publication: 31 August, 2015

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Blog: Mohammad Dahlan, a long-time Palestinian security figure and Fatah strongman, has called to integrate Hamas and Islamic Jihad into the PLO.
Mohammed Dahlan, a former Fatah leader, has called for Hamas and Islamic Jihad to be reintegrated into the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

"[The] homeland is in danger, and the PLO is in danger," Dahlan told BBC Arabic.

His comments followed the resignations of Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, and those of eleven other of his allies from the PLO national executive committee - a move several analysts construed as being a ploy to force snap elections and restructure the PLO to Abbas' benefit.

In a Facebook post, Dahlan dubbed Abbas' move a "palace coup".

Dahlan served in the government of his rival Abbas in 2011, until he moved to the UAE in exile after being charged with corruption - though charges were dropped in April this year. 

     Dahlan dubbed Abbas’ move a 'palace coup'
Considering that during Dahlan's tenure as head of the Preventive Security service in Gaza he developed a reputation for imposing a ruthless crack-down on Hamas members in Gaza - leading to an attempted 2007 bid to overthrow the Islamic group following its election victory - his recent comments may seem a bit odd.

Although his comments reflect many calls to make the PLO more representative - the umbrella organisation's political make-up largely reflects the Palestinian political sphere of the 1980s - Dahlan may have a more cynical reason for calling on wider representation in the PLO.

Dahlan's comments are the latest in a series of events that point to building reconciliation between the former Fatah leader and sections of the Hamas movement in Gaza to tackle their common enemy, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Certain Hamas figures have come out with statements that could be construed as admitting limited cooperation.

"Dahlan's past is better than Abbas' present, who is managing the Palestinian situation in a spirit of defeat and failure," Yehya Moussa, a Gaza MP, said last year.

"It is necessary for Hamas at this stage to mobilise the national ranks by forming an alliance with a team from Fatah."

Dahlan's call also reflects comments by PLO Executive Committee member Yasser Abed Rabbo in an interview with al-Monitor - that Hamas and Islamic Jihad should be reintegrated in the PLO, in turn reflecting suggestions made by former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Dahlan also said that he did not seek to become president - but had a right to run for presidency "if I want".

The former security strong-man also called for security coordination with Israel to be stopped, and said he considered the Oslo Accords invalid.

The comment is also not without irony, considering that many speculate Dahlan's success was the direct result of Oslo's creation of a Palestinian security apparatus set up to enforce Israeli military imperatives.

The "Palestine papers", leaked by WikiLeaks in 2011, demonstrated this high degree of security cooperation between the US, Israel and Dahlan.

Meanwhile, Dahlan's (possibly former) arch-enemy, Hamas, has reportedly been on the verge of coming to a long-term truce agreement with Israel. Some have reported that Dahlan may be involved in the negotiations.

As the rhetoric of Palestinian leaders becomes increasingly divergent, the crisis in the PLO continues. 

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