Egypt Pressing Hamas To Accept Fatah Strongman Mahmamed Dahlan’s Involvement in Gaza

Mohammed Dahlan
AARON KLEIN AND ALI WAKED

The Egyptian government has been pressuring the leaders of Hamas to accept the official involvement of Fatah strongman Mohammed Dahlan in the Gaza Strip, an Arab intelligence source told Breitbart Jerusalem.

Dahlan, a prominent figure in Gaza until Hamas’ forceful takeover in 2007, oversaw preventative security in the Strip from the establishment of the Palestinian Authority until the coup. Today, he’s considered one of the strongest political rivals to Palestinian President and Fatah chief Mahmoud Abbas.

Dahlan is very close to Egyptian President Abel Fattah Al-Sisi and the royal family of the United Arab Emirates, particularly Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed.

According to the source, a Hamas delegation led by the organization’s Gaza political chief, Yehya Sinwar, visited Egypt this week, where they met with Egyptian officials responsible for Palestinian affairs. The delegation is said to have been told that, as far as Egypt is concerned, any breakthrough in the crisis in the Gaza Strip and the blockade imposed on it can’t happen without other non-Hamas Palestinian entities being involved in managing life in the enclave.

The source said Egypt understands that “The Gaza Strip doesn’t interest Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and he is incapable of returning to be the undisputed leader of the Strip’s residents, so Egypt’s preferred alternative is that a figure acceptable to the Israelis, the Americans, Egypt and their allies in the Persian Gulf be involved in any reconstruction in the Strip. And Dahlan is that person without a doubt.”

The intelligence source claimed that Dahlan is so much appreciated by Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman “that recently he’s been saying in his statements that action must be taken to reconstruct Gaza. [Dahlan] continues to maintain good connections with Western intelligence sources, especially among the Americans, and he’s considered the most well-connected of the Palestinians among the leaders of Egypt and the Gulf.”

According to the source, “The Egyptians understand that the crisis in the Gaza Strip will only increase the forces of extremist organizations supporting IS. On the other hand, they don’t trust Hamas, which continues to act as the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, despite the new charter published by the movement. And they don’t like Abbas, so the message to Senwar was ‘cooperate with Dahlan’ if you want to solve the crisis in Gaza.”

The source noted that Egypt has been coordinating the effort with Israel “despite the fact that among the Israeli security services are those who are still hesitant to believe that the security leaders of the Palestinian Authority can control the Gaza Strip, but this option isn’t preferred by the Egyptians and it would seem not by Israeli Defense Minister Lieberman.”

The source said that during the Hamas delegation’s visit to Egypt, Dahlan was also present in the country.

Responding to the report, a senior source in Hamas told Breitbart Jerusalem, “There wasn’t any pressure on the movement’s delegation regarding Dahlan.”

The Hamas source added: “His name came up and the humanitarian efforts we’re undertaking with the cooperation of the fund led by his wife came up and our brothers in the delegation told the Egyptians that Dahlan’s involvement will be reduced to humanitarian coordination alone. Hamas will have no part in Fatah’s internal crisis and won’t do anything that will harm the chances for Palestinian reconciliation.”

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