Mohammed Dahlan rebukes claims US is 'thinking about' appointing him Palestinian leader

Mohammed Dahlan rebukes claims US is 'thinking about' appointing him Palestinian leader
Mohammed Dahlan rebuffed David Friedman's remarks, saying they were 'nothing more than a deception tactic aimed at destabilising' the Palestinian front.
2 min read
18 September, 2020
Mohammed Dahlan was expelled by the Palestinian Authority in 2011 [Getty]
Exiled Palestinian politician Mohammed Dahlan has rebuked remarks made by the US ambassador to Israel that Washington was "thinking about" appointing him leader of the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Dahlan posted on his official Facebook page on Thursday: "He who is not elected by his people will not be able to lead and achieve national independence."

The shadowy politician spoke out after Ambassador David Friedman said in an interview with Israel Hayom published Wednesday that Washington was "thinking about" appointing Dahlan, who resides in the UAE, as the next Palestinian leader.

However Friedman added the US has "no desire to engineer the Palestinian leadership".

The next day the newspaper, which has close ties to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, issued a clarification, quoting Friedman instead as saying the US was "not thinking" about appointing Dahlan leader.

However the remarks had already caused outrage among many Palestinians.

In his post, Dahlan said: "I am of the belief that Palestine desperately needs to renew the legitimacy of its leaders and institutions, which an only be achieved through comprehensive and transparent national elections." 

"But if what was attributed to the US ambassador to Israel is true, it is nothing more than a deception tactic aimed at destabilising the internal Palestinian front, and I hope no one falls into this trap," the politician said, dismissing the furore that erupted following Friedman's remarks.

"Let's work together to restore our national unity and agree on how to achieve national stability. It is not worth it to be fighting internally. All our power and energy should be devoted to the liberation of our great homeland and people," he concluded.

A former representative of the Palestinian Fatah party, the PA President Mahmoud Abbas expelled Dahlan in 2011 after several criminal and financial charges were filed against him, and fearing he may lead a coup.

Since then, Dahlan has prompted further allegations of corruption and regional meddling, amassing a reported net worth of $120 million.

As security advisor to Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammad bin Zayed, Dahlan has been a central figure in communications between Abu Dhabi, and US and Israeli intelligence services, with some speculating he played a key role in the US-brokered normalisation agreement between UAE and Israel. 

Last year, Turkey accused Dahlan of being a mercenary paid by the UAE and issued an Interpol red notice for his arrest saying he was linked to the failed 2016 coup.

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