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Could exiled former Palestinian leader Dahlan lead Gaza?

TJI Pick
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Could exiled former Palestinian leader Dahlan lead Gaza?

Published: 14 November 2023

Last updated: 5 March 2024

The former leader of Fatah in Gaza, Mohammed Dahlan, is one of the heroes of the first intifada and has support from Israel and the US. But could he impose his power?

Gaza’s former strongman Mohammed Dahlan has now spent more than a decade in exile in the UAE but rather than fade from the spotlight, he has amassed a new kind of power as a businessman and adviser to President Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan.  

Despite his long absence from the Palestinian Territories, Dahlan is still thought of as a potential leader in Gaza – if Hamas were removed from power. 

“Mohammed Dahlan is from Gaza and is one of the heroes of the first intifada [the Palestinian uprising aimed at ending Israeli occupation in Gaza and the West Bank in 1987 to 1993],” said FRANCE 24’s correspondent in Israel, Stéphane Amar. 

“He has support from Israel and support from the United States – but the question is whether he will be able to impose his power. There are multiple options on the table if Israel were to succeed in ousting Hamas from the Gaza Strip.” 

“Dahlan is compatible with Israel,” added Frédéric Encel, professor at Sciences Po in Paris and specialist in the geopolitics of the Middle East. “He was one of the first [Palestinian leaders] to accept the two-state solution and to stop calls for violence.”

Could exiled former Palestinian leader Mohammed Dahlan lead Gaza after the Israel-Hamas war? (France24)
The former leader of Fatah in Gaza, Mohammed Dahlan, has been living in exile in the United Arab Emirates for the past 10 years, where he has become a successful businessman. Born in the Palestinian coastal enclave, Dahlan is a powerful financial force in Gaza and an influential figure in the wider region – if Hamas fell, could he return to power?

These Three Dilemmas Will Determine Israel's War With Hamas (Haaretz)
ANSHEL PFEFFER: Destroying Hamas’ tunnels or saving hostages? A return of settlements to Gaza or a hand over to the Palestinian Authority? Prioritizing the fight against Hamas or mobilizing more forces to the Hezbollah front? These are the big choices the Israeli leadership has to make

Will Netanyahu step down after Israel-Hamas war is over? (Al-Monitor)
Opponents of the embattled Prime Minister, and even some of his associates, speculate that he will have to step down once the war with Hamas ends.

Photo: Mohammed Dahlan in 2020

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