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Dahlan Is Not Innocent

By Khalid Amayreh

 In Occupied Palestine

 Al-Jazeera, CCUN, January 3, 2011

The former Fatah strongman, Muhammed Dahlan, is due to appear before a Fatah court in Ramallah  to face charges pertaining to corruption, including embezzlement,  bribery, graft, nepotism, and breach of trust.
Prior to the conclusion of the Oslo Accords, Dahlan was a petty Fatah activist, suffering nearly abject poverty. According to a neighbor, he didn't have enough money to buy a pack of cigarettes.
Now, the man the Americans once picked and provided with the wherewithal to repress, topple and even decapitate Hamas, is probably one of the richest people in occupied Palestine.
How he has been able to amass all these millions is a question awaiting a satisfactory and honest answer.
It is not Dahlan's credibility that is at stake, for he probably has none. After all, the man seemed to have utilized his membership in Fatah and especially proximity to Yasser Arafat to expedite his own ambitions, amass obscene wealth and build a business fiefdom of his own.
What is at stake is Fatah's credibility, and in order for the movement to preserve that credibility, it will have to cut off Dahlan's numerous tentacles since he is not going to surrender easily and  soon.
Dahlan should be asked how many millions of dollars he levied on every fuel truck entering the Gaza Strip from occupied Palestine in the period between 1994-2000 when he was Head of the Preventive Security Force-the Gaza Branch.
He should be asked how he was able to make enough money which enabled him to purchase numerous palaces and luxurious buildings, probably including a huge hotel in one of the Gulf emirates.
It is true that he should be treated as innocent until proven guilty. But it is also true that there is a huge mass of indicting and irrefutable evidence that if studied and cross-examined carefully leaves no room for any pretension of innocence on his part.
In May 1997, during the height of Dahlan's lordship in Gaza, David Hirst wrote an article in the Guardian, entitled "Shameless in Gaza."
He quoted one of Gaza's merchant princes, a former Fatah fighter himself as saying the following:
"We live in amazing, shameful times,  but you should know that every revolution has its fighters, thinkers and profiteers. Our fighters have been killed, our thinkers assassinated, and all we have left are the profiteers. These don't think even primarily of the cause, they don't think about it at all. They know that they are just transients here, as they were in Tunis, and, as with any regime whose end is near, they think only of profiting from it while they can."
In Islam, as in all other justice systems, there is a golden rule known as "min ayna laka hatha" meaning "how did you acquire this"? This rule should be applied to all the lords of corruption who have acquired a huge wealth in a matter of few years, when only a few years ago they could hardly make ends meet.
Perhaps Dahlan is one of "the big onions." But maybe he is not. The PA, ever since its creation in 1994, has always been shameful embodiment of corruption, financial and otherwise. Hundreds, if not thousands of people, amassed huge wealth, employing  shamelessly unlawful and illegitimate means.
One PA official once told me that "in order to have the slate clean, the entire structure would have to be thoroughly destroyed, because corruption has infested every part and every aspect of the Palestinian Authority."
The West and Israel knew quite well of the rampant corruption. They actually encouraged it, hoping that the corrupt PA would be blackmailed and bullied into signing a peace agreement with Israel, one that would seriously compromise fundamental Palestinian rights, including the right of return for the refugees and the issue of East Jerusalem.
But justice postponed is still better than justice ignored, and in all cases we should learn from our enemy, Israel, that no one, irrespective of his status, or stature, is above the law.
The Zionists are not more deserving of justice, transparency and clean governance than us.
None the less, the belated discovery of Dahlan's implication in corruption, is by no means the man's most scandalous breach of trust or felony against the Palestinian people.
Dahlan actively collaborated with Israel against the Palestinian resistance groups under the rubric of  carrying  out  official  policy. He co-planned and co-plotted and connived with Israel against Hamas. In Gaza , he commandeered the  notorious  firaq al mawt or death squads to liquidate people  he deemed hostile or non-conformist.
And in 2006-2007, he closely colluded and conspired with the Islamophobic  neocons in the Bush Administration to  topple and  decapitate the democratically-elected government of Hamas.  He wanted to nip Hamas while still in the bud.
That was the very man who said in an interview with Radio al Huriiya in  the late 2006 that he would rough up  (iy-bahdel in Arabic) any Fatah member who might think  of joining the Hamas' government."
In short, Dahlan was the person who stood behind the national rift if only by willingly agreeing to carry out treacherous instructions against Hamas,  issued by such notorious Israel firsters in Washington  such Eliot Abrams, to whom Keith Dayton was answerable. And as we all know, Dahlan was answerable to none other than Dayton .
Needless to say, it was this  murderous, blasphemous, and  nefarious treachery  that eventually forced Hamas to defend itself against "Mission Decapitation."




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