NAZARETH, Nov 12 (JMCC) - The large, energetic memorial for Yasser Arafat yesterday in Ramallah belied a burgeoning disunity in Fatah between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, his nephew and heir-apparent Nasser al-Qudwa, and mutineers like the Gaza-based Mohammad Dahlan, imprisoned Marwan Barghouti, and former Fatah Central Committee member Jibril Rajoub.
Recently, Fatah has targed Dahlan and others not concretely aligned with or openly critical of Abbas, who according to a November JMCC poll, still enjoys major support within Palestinian society.
Dahlan had apparently flown abroad just a day before Abbas' return from a trip to the Persian Gulf, thereby avoiding a potentially dicey encounter with the Palestinian president. The fallout between the two men appears largely due to recent news that Abbas has used Qudwa to undermine Dahlan and push him aside.
Abbas was recently informed that Dahlan has not only publicly denigrated the president himself, but his politically uninvolved sons Yasser and Tariq - a businessman and ad executive respectively.
It was merely a matter of time before Abbas took punitive measures. At first, the Palestinian Preventive Security Force - a special security force tasked with protecting senior Palestinian figures - abandoned Dahlan's Gaza home, leaving him only with his personal guards. Dahlan, who has a long record of public altercations with Hamas, is considered one of Fatah's most vulnerable figures in Gaza.
Early this week Yusef Issa Yakub, deputy head of the Preventative Security Force and a close Dahlan associate, was dismissed. Dahlan associates said the decision to prevent the strongman and Ahmed Qureia from using the Allenby Bridge from the West Bank into Jordan also came straight from Abbas' bureau.
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