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Battle royal between best of enemies to succeed Abbas

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Published: 27 August 2019

Last updated: 4 March 2024

SHLOMI ELDAR: Jibril Rajoub and Mohammed Dahlan have decided to reconcile ahead of the fight of their lives; reports say Dahlan is trying to start a new Palestinian party

LIKE MANY GOOD melodramas, it all began with a beautiful friendship that descended into a bitter rivalry. Eventually there was a reconciliation, but in the case of Palestinian leaders Mohammed Dahlan and Jibril Rajoub, it was driven entirely by their own self-interest.

Dahlan and Rajoub had met in the 1980s, as local PLO leaders, while imprisoned in Israel. Both were exiled, Dahlan to Jordan and Rajoub to Lebanon, during the first intifada in 1987. They would meet again in Tunis, where they PLO had established its headquarters after being expelled from Beirut after the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon.

In 1988, after Israeli commandos assassinated Khalil Wazir (Abu Jihad), the deputy to PLO leader Yasser Arafat who had been responsible for planning dozens of terrorist attacks, Arafat divided his responsibilities coordinating PLO activities between Dahlan and Rajoub.

Dahlan, originally from Khan Yunis, south of Gaza City, was given responsibility for the Gaza Strip. Rajoub, from Dura, in the Hebron district, was handed responsibility for the West Bank.

With the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, Dahlan assumed leadership of the Preventive Security Forces in Gaza, and Rajoub took the same job on the West Bank.

FULL STORY The Palestinian reconciliation that keeps Abbas awake at night (Al-Monitor)

READ MORE
Will a Dahlan party bust the Fatah-Hamas duopoly? (Al-Monitor)
Dismissed Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan is reportedly working to form a new Palestinian political party with backing from Egypt and the United Arab Emirates

Photo: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends a leadership meeting in Ramallah, Israeli-occupied West Bank, Feb. 20, 2019 (Mohomad Torokman/Reuters)

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