Egypt reportedly refuses relocation of Dahlan office from Abu Dhabi to Cairo

The Reform Current headed by dismissed Fatah leader Mohammad Dahlan was shocked by Egypt’s refusal to accept the relocation of its office from Abu Dhabi to Cairo, Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported on Friday.

Sources close to Dahlan disclosed that many of his aides had been recalled to Abu Dhabi for a meeting lasting several days to discuss the political future of the current after the postponement of the Palestinian elections, which Dahlan hoped to use to reenter Palestinian politics.

Around 30 people from Egypt, Lebanon, Gaza and Europe were able to travel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and attend the meeting, while others could not. Some were intentionally not invited as Dahlan doubted their loyalty over claims that they contacted Fatah leaders.

The future of the current, its organization and attempts to attract Fatah members were among the issues discussed during the meeting.

The current has suffered a wave of defection of its members to Fatah after normalization between Israel and the UAE, which hosts Dahlan and offers him financial support.

No reconciliation with Dahlan

Palestinian movement Fatah has also ruled out any possible of reconciliation with dismissed leader Mohammad Dahlan.

Speaking to Al-Watan Voice in late July, spokesperson Hussein Hamayel said: “Dahlan is behind us, and all the analyses regarding his return to the movement are false.”

This came after Gaza MP Ashraf Jumaa wrote on Facebook: “We are awaiting a dramatic incident.” Some people predicted it could be a reconciliation between Fatah and Dahlan.

“We do not have any interest in reconciliation with Dahlan,” Hamayel stressed, noting that the decision to dismiss Dahlan was taken by Fatah’s Central Committee.

Meanwhile, Dahlan’s Democratic Reform Bloc said he “is always seeking to reunite Fatah”, while calling to “stop the autocratic domination over Fatah.”

Fifty-eight-year-old Dahlan was expelled from Fatah’s ruling body in 2011 on allegations of plotting to overthrow Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and has been living in exile in the UAE since 2012.

He was the former head of the Fatah-dominated Preventive Security Force in the Gaza Strip.

In December 2019, Turkey added Dahlan to its most wanted terrorist list, with a $1.7 million bounty on his head, due to his alleged involvement in perpetrating the attempted military coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government on 15 July 2016, in cooperation with followers of the exiled Turkish cleric, Fethullah Gulen, who remains in the US.

Some of the main issues discussed during the meeting were the differences among the current’s leaders in Gaza.

During the meeting, changing the name was proposed, but most of the attendants rejected this change arguing that any new name that would not include Fatah would cause more losses for the current, which considers itself a reformation action for Fatah.

The issue of senior leaders who defect and rejoin Fatah was also discussed.

The sources told Al-Quds Al-Arabi that this is the most concerning issue for Dahlan, which emerged when a number of senior leaders asked to rejoin Fatah and were accepted. “Dahlan is afraid that others will follow the same path,” the sources revealed.

No return for Dahlan

The Palestinian Fatah movement is open to the return of all of its ex-members who were dismissed for whatever reason, except Mohammad Dahlan, Al-Quds Al-Araby reported in early July. The Palestinian MP now lives in the UAE and is involved with the regime in Abu Dhabi.

Dahlan was fired in 2011 when he was accused of corruption, disrespecting the movement’s principles and committing a “misdemeanor”. The offer to rejoin Fatah is open to those former members who subsequently joined Dahlan’s Reform Current.

The move follows discussions by Fatah’s Revolutionary Council which, according a source within the movement, opened the doors to former members. Al-Quds Al-Araby pointed out that the UAE, which funds Dahlan, used him in its campaign against the Palestinian Authority, which is controlled by Fatah.

The London-based newspaper reported that many of the Fatah activists, who lost their income due to joining Dahlan’s Reform Current, had been paid retrospectively after pledging to leave him and rejoin Fatah.

Jihad Tameela, a Fatah MP known for his support of Dahlan, has recently appeared alongside a member of the Fatah Central Committee, Abbas Zaki, in Ramallah. Activists commented on social media that this could be a sign of the return of one time Fatah activists to the movement.