Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is resisting pressure from Egypt and Jordan to reconcile with former Fatah security head Mohammed Dahlan. Dahlan is regarded as a serious rival to Abbas for the leadership of the movement, the Palestine Liberation Organisation and the Palestinian Authority.
Jordanian and Egyptian intelligence officials want Fatah to put its election candidates on a united list in order to be strong enough to compete against Hamas. Hence the push for reconciliation between Abbas and Dahlan.
Despite the apparent failure of the efforts to end his dispute with Abbas, Dahlan has started to take practical measures on the ground to prepare for the Palestinian elections. One of his senior supporters, Abdul Hakim Awad, returned to Gaza early this week to take charge of the election team for Dahlan’s followers within Fatah. Awad left Gaza along with about 300 Dahlan supporters in 2007.
“The return of our people was decided in 2018 as part of ending several outstanding issues related to the reasons for the political division that followed Hamas winning control of Gaza,” explained a spokesman for Dahlan’s group in the Gaza Strip, Imad Muhsen.
Regarding the electoral list, Muhsen said that the Dahlan team has a steadfast position. “If Abbas refuses to run with us on a united ticket, we will run on a ticket that will include national figures along with our leaders.” He insisted that no one has the right to exclude Dahlan and his supporters from the elections.