Out goes Dahlan

FATAH’S inquiry into the Gaza loss to Hamas was widely expected to deliver the axe on Abbas’ former national security adviser and party strongman Mohammad Dahlan, which has happened. Even though he was missing from the scene for much of the infighting owing to a knee surgery in Germany, few dispute the fact that the loss of Gaza owes mostly to the errors made on his part, who was for quite some time one of the most powerful people controlling the area.

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Published: Sat 28 Jul 2007, 8:21 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 12:56 AM

For Fatah chief Abbas, this is an ideal opportunity to leverage the cleansing-momentum and clean the PA institutions. Once a notable protégé of the late Yasser Arafat, Dahlan had long grown to epitomise all that was corrupt and contrary to people and party interests in the troubled Palestinian territories. And his presence was one of the bigger stumbling blocks in Abbas’ campaign of acceptance as the greater voice of the Palestinians.

Since the hardest part of that endeavour is far from over, Abu Mazen needs to practically show the people that he is sincere in his efforts of moving ahead from the deadlock. And that corruption and nepotism will not be tolerated in his administration anymore. For Palestinians, whose interests ought to be his most pressing concern, and a good bulk of whom still harbour more than a soft corner for ousted Hamas, such concerns are justified and hold paramount importance.

Dahlan was hardly the only person chosen to represent government office who turned around and established a mafia-rule of sorts of his own. The problem is far too widespread and Palestinians realise it all too well. Abbas faces a critical test of legitimacy, and would have to go the extra mile to prove his worth to his own people.

Let there be no mistake about it. No matter what extent the West goes to to shower praise on him, his will be a dead-ended path if the people on the ground lose faith in him. And with Hamas always gaining in popularity in Gaza, he has his work cut out for him.



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