A Palestinian appeals court has ruled to uphold parliamentary immunity for former Palestinian Authority (PA) legislator Mohammed Dahlan, who is seen by many as a potential challenger to PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
The ruling could mean that Dahlan, who has been in exile for the last several years in the United Arab Emirates, could return to the West Bank and run for PA president if Abbas—whose term has been expired since 2009—calls for new elections or steps down as president.
“We respect decisions by the Palestinian judiciary on the principle of the independence of the judicial authority,” said Abbas’s legal adviser, Hassan Al-Awri, Reuters reported.
As a rising star in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in the 1990s, Dahlan was promoted to head of security in Gaza. In 2006, he won a seat in the PA’s legislative body. But in 2007, when the Hamas terrorist ousted the Fatah political party and the PA from Gaza, many inside the PA blamed Dahlan for Hamas’s rise. His fall from grace continued in 2011 when he was charged with corruption and embezzlement by Abbas, and was stripped of his legislative seat.
Nevertheless, Dahlan has maintained some popularity among Palestinians and is continually mentioned as a possible successor to Abbas.