Jibril Rajoub vs. Muhammad Dahlan to Replace Mahmoud Abbas

(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Yoni Ben Menachem - During an interview on the BBC's Arabic service on Feb. 17, Jibril Rajoub, secretary-general of Fatah in the West Bank, attacked Egypt for supporting his bitter political rival Muhammad Dahlan. Rajoub believes he is the most suitable candidate to succeed Abbas. Dahlan has the backing of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the UAE, and Hamas. Senior officials in the Trump administration have accused Dahlan of propagating statements calling for the annulment of the Oslo accords and declaring the territories "a state under occupation," which contravenes U.S. policy. Yet the American campaign against Dahlan actually helps him to construct an image as an authentic Palestinian leader. Dahlan is very careful to be photographed with a picture of Yasser Arafat in the background and to quote Arafat at any opportunity. Dahlan presents the Arafat era as a "golden age" in the Palestinian struggle in contrast to Mahmoud Abbas' weakness. Abbas' preferred successor appears to be Gen. Majid Freij, head of intelligence in the West Bank, but Abbas has taken no steps to signal this to the Fatah leadership. Israeli concerns are that after Abbas leaves office, there will be armed confrontations and security chaos throughout the West Bank. The writer is a veteran Arab affairs commentator for Israel Radio and Television.

2018-02-26 00:00:00

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