What is behind the dismissal of Abbas rival?

What is behind the dismissal of Abbas rival?
Palestinian media and sources report that Yasser Abed Rabbo was dismissed from the PLO due to alleged contacts and meetings with former Gaza strongman Mohammed Dahlan.
3 min read
03 Jul, 2015
Abed Rabbo and Fayyad with former Israeli president Shimon Peres [AFP]
This week it was reported that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas dismissed Yasser Abed Rabbo, a long-time critic, from the second most-senior job in the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

Palestinian media reports that the motivations for this move could be due to his connection with Mohammed Dahlan, the contraversial former Gaza security chief and long-time rival of Abbas, with whom Rabbo was accused of meeting in the UAE.

Dahlan is currently in exile in the UAE, following corruption allegations from the PA, and enjoys support from the government there.  

A Palestinian court dropped the high profile corruption case against Dahlan in April, saying that the charges were "inadmissable".

This is the latest move in a string of attempts by Abbas to sideline rivals, some of whom allegedly have connections with Dahlan.

Earlier this month Salam Fayyad, a former Palestinian prime minister who resigned in 2013 after reported disputes with Abbas, had his assets frozen.

Fayyad ran the "Future for Palestine" development institute, whose funds of about $1.6m were frozen during a lawsuit involving accusations of money laundering.

The PA-driven investigations into the NGO have been continuing since last year, when sources told Haraatz that this was due to alleged funding by the UAE, with whom Abbas has difficult relations due to their support to Dahlan.

The former Palestinian prime minister had good relations with western governments, overseeing development and modernisation projects in the West Bank, and, along with Dahlan, has been mentioned as a potential successor to Abbas. 

In December last year, a Palestinian TV host accused Abed Rabbo, Dahlan and Fayyad of meeting in secret with the US secretary of state, John Kerry, in the UAE.

Shortly afterwards Abbas stripped Abed Rabbo of his duties related to the PLO's financial allocations.

The dispute between Abbas and Abed Rabbo dates back to September 2011, when al-Akhbar reported that Abed Rabbo was attempting to undermine Abbas by saying that the UN bid for international recognition of Palestine was not serious.

Fayyad reportedly also had disputes with Abbas over the bid, as the US, who gave large donations to the Palestinian Authority, disapproved of Palestine seeking formal recognition.  

During the last few years, Abed Rabbo has repeatedly made public statements undermining Abbas, even to the point of defending Hamas resistance in Gaza, although Abed Rabbo was known as a leading proponent of negotiations with Israel.

Recently, al-Monitor has also reported skirmishes in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon between respective supporters of Abbas and Dahlan.

Similary, last month Abbas accused Dahlan and Hamas of mobilising supporters in the West Bank to forment unrest.

In March, the Palestinian Authority halted the salaries of Fatah members and civil servants who were allegedly loyal to the former Gaza security chief.

Although in April, Fatah leaders in Gaza called for internal Fatah reconciliation and Lebanese politicians have also attempted to bridge the divide, considering the latest news, it would appear that internal conflicts are on-going.