Hamas is allowing Dahlan loyalists to return to Gaza

Mohammad Dahlan’s supporters were expected to return to the Gaza Strip on Sunday in another sign of rapprochement between the Fatah and Hamas leader, Palestinian sources said.
Relations between Dahlan and Hamas have improved significantly in the last few weeks, much to the disappointment of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Dahlan, based in the United Arab Emirates, is one of Abbas’ s main political enemies.
Dahlan moved to the UAE in 2011 after falling out with Abbas.
In the past few weeks, Dahlan has coordinated the delivery of medical aid from the UAE to the Gaza Strip, earning praise from Hamas and other Palestinian officials there.
Some 15 Dahlan loyalists who fled the Gaza Strip in 2006 and 2007 will return to the Hamas-controlled coast through Rafah’s border with Egypt, sources told Palestinian Al-Quds daily.
Hundreds of Fatah members have fled the Gaza Strip since the conflict between their group and Hamas began. The conflict, which erupted after Hamas reached the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary election, culminated in 2007, when the Islamic movement took control of the Gaza Strip.

Dozens of Fatah militants were killed during an armed conflict with Hamas during the surrender.
Fatah members will return to the Gaza Strip as Dahlan supporters prepare to take part in the election for the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), slated for May 22.
Dahlan, who was born in the Khan Yunis refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, is currently in charge of an organization called Democratic Reformation. He was previously commander of the PA Defense Security Force in the Gaza Strip.
Dahlan’s group said they planned to run for PLC election, either as part of Fatah’s official list or individually.
It is unclear whether Dahlan will present his candidacy in the primary election, which is set to take place on July 31.
Palestinian officials said last month that Dahlan would not be allowed to run for president because he was convicted by a Palestinian court on graft charges.
In 2016, a Palestinian court in Ramallah sentenced Dahlan in absentia to three years in prison on charges of importing $ 16 million. Dahlan has denied the allegations and has used Abbas from using the courts to reconcile scores with him.
Fatah members who fled the Gaza Strip settled in Egypt and other countries, sources said. One of them is Abdel Hakim Awad, a Dahlan-linked Fatah chief.
Khaled Muhsen, a thinker for a Democratic reform stream, confirmed that hundreds of Dahlan loyalists would soon return to the Gaza Strip. The move was in the context of a “community reconciliation” with Hamas, Muhsen told Al-Quds.
Dahlan supporters are likely to send back to the Gaza Strip more tensions in Fatah, which is already seeing tensions escalating ahead of Palestinian general elections. Dahlan is believed to have a strong following among Fatah cars in the Gaza Strip. He has several hundred supporters in the West Bank.
Jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti is reportedly considering whether to run in the primary election, according to some Fatah officials.
Others said Barghouti, who is serving five life terms in prison for his role in terrorist acts against Israel during the Second Intifada, does not intend to take part in the parliamentary election.
However, according to Hatem Abdel Qader, Fatah ‘s chief executive, “Barghouti is determined to present its candidacy for the primary election … this is what Fatah and the people want.”

Barghouti also threatened to support a list of Fatah dissident candidates who oppose Abbas, one official said.

Barghouti led the Fatah list in the 2006 parliamentary election.
At a recent meeting of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, it was stated that Abbas was threatening to punish any Fatah member who ran out of the group’s official list.

Another Fatah chief executive who is considering running outside the group’s official list is Nasser al-Qudwa, a nephew of PLO vice-chairman Yasser Arafat. On Saturday afternoon, Qudwa was a boy of a meeting of the Fatah Central Council, chaired by Abbas, amid reports that he was exploring the possibility of creating his own list or supporting an unofficial Fatah list.