Middle East Eye reports that according to senior Palestinian and Jordanian sources, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Jordan are conspiring to replace aging Abu Mazen (Mahmud Abbas, 81) with his old time rival Mohammed Dahlan, 54, as president of the PA. Mazen has headed the PA since 2005. Dahlan was expelled from Fatah in 2011 due to allegations of corruption.
The UAE allegedly spoke to Israel about the plan and Saudi Arabia is to get involved once a conclusion has been reached.
A key element behind the plan is for the younger and more dynamic Dahlan to strengthen Fatah and the PA, while weakening Hamas by dividing it into warring camps.
“Dahlan believes that Hamas is weaker than Fatah in Gaza and that Fatah is weaker than Hamas in the West Bank and that Fatah could win if it were to be united, whereas Hamas is likely to win if Fatah remains disunited,” a senior Palestinian source said.
The Palestinian political system became a semi-dictatorship after the 2007 split between Hamas in Gaza and Fatah in the West Bank. Presidential and legislative elections are six years overdue and the parliament doesn’t function.
A recent survey conducted among 1,200 West Bank and Gaza residents by Nader Said of the AWRAD polling agency found that 95.5% believed that the Abbas government is corrupt. Mandatory annual budget reports have not been submitted to the World Bank for four years, although World Bank says this is due to technical problems. In 2014, $9.4 million of a $17.9 developmental budget was spent on Abbas’ presidential plane.