Mohammed Dahlan, former Fatah leader in Gaza who was exiled by Mahmoud Abbas and now lives in the UAE, gave an interview to Le Monde where he criticizes Abbas ahead of the seventh Fatah conference scheduled to start this week.
He said, "Abu Mazen [Abbas] wants to get rid of all dissenting voices. He wants to destroy Fatah as he destroyed the institutions of the Palestinian Authority. For me, Fatah is more important than the Authority. It is a cause to which one supports voluntarily, where one is ready to become a martyr or prisoner, and not to receive a salary....In Arafat's time, the Fatah congress served to ease internal tensions. We came out with solutions. Abu Mazen does the opposite. He terrorizes all opponents. Nobody dares contradict him in the central committee. How can rebuild Fatah in such conditions?"
Dahlan continues, "My conflict with [Abbas] is political, not personal. The Palestinian Authority today is like Africa: Zero democracy! Imagine that people are recruited to track users who criticize Abbas on Facebook! All the money is taken over by his sons. For us Palestinians this is something inconceivable."
Dahlan, posing in front of a portrait of Yasir Arafat, doesn't think to mention that Arafat was like someone who stole the crown jewels of England while Abbas swipes a pack of gum from the corner store.
Dahlan also makes clear that he feels that Abbas is too pro-Israel. "The first responsibility of a leader is to take into account the feelings of his people. But Abu Mazen is more concerned about Israel than his people. There is a difference between peace ( salam ) and surrender ( istislam ). What we are witnessing today is an occupation without charge, a luxury surrender."
When the interviewer asked the exiled strongman what he thinks of negotiations with Israel, given that he participated in them, he says "I'm not against negotiations, they are essential. But what good are negotiations that last twenty-five years? The talks with the Israelis started in 1991 in Madrid and there was Oslo in 1993. Until 2000, this process worked, year after year. At least Israel ceded land. We had a little hope. But after the death of Yasser Arafat , everything collapsed. "
That is an interesting bit of revisionist history, as Dahlan simply doesn't mention the intifada that started right after the Camp David negotiations collapsed because of Arafat's intransigence.
Dahlan is no less a liar than Abbas, but even though he has been in Abu Dhabi for several years, there are still a number of Palestinian media outlets that are unabashedly pro-Dahlan today.