Dahlan likely to return to Gaza before May 22 legislative elections

Dahlan likely to return to Gaza before May 22 legislative elections
Mohammed Dahlan. (REUTERS)
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Updated 16 February 2021

Dahlan likely to return to Gaza before May 22 legislative elections

Dahlan likely to return to Gaza before May 22 legislative elections
  • Movement is part of Palestinian scene, says spokesman

GAZA CITY: The Fatah breakaway Dahlan movement is returning to the Gaza Strip after a 14-year absence.

The movement is led by Mohammed Dahlan, who has lived in the UAE since a dispute with President Mahmoud Abbas forced him to leave the West Bank. He sought refuge there after Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007.

Last Sunday two of the movement’s members went back to Gaza. One of them was Abdel Hakim Awad, who heads the Dahlan election department. He is also one of the founders of Fatah Youth in Gaza and has a remarkable presence among young people and the student movement.

The return also follows Dahlan representatives meeting the Hamas delegation that took part in the Palestinian national dialogue in Cairo earlier this month.

There are legislative elections on May 22, but Dahlan spokesman Imad Mohsen played down the return’s timing. It had been scheduled since 2018 and was not primarily related to the polls even if it coincided with it, he added.

Hundreds of Fatah members left the Gaza Strip fearing for their lives after the 2007 split, which led to Hamas’ control of the coastal enclave, and joined the movement  formed by Dahlan.

Mohsen said about 300 Fatah activists were in Egypt and elsewhere, and that there was no legal problem preventing their return to Gaza. “It is expected that large numbers of these brothers will return in the near future,” he told Arab News.

A Palestinian source, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Arab News it was possible that Dahlan himself would return to Gaza before the May 22 elections.

Observers have linked these developments with Dahlan’s possible participation in the elections, whether through a separate list or with a unified Fatah list if there are successful reconciliation efforts between Abbas and Dahlan.

“Our firm position from the beginning is to run the elections with a unified list of Fatah and, in the event Abbas refuses to do so, we will run in the elections with a list that includes leaders of the movement,” said Mohsen. “It consists of personalities with national, professional and youth competence, so that they meet the challenges that plague the Palestinian cause. We are part of the Palestinian scene, and no party can exclude us or prevent us from participating in this democratic path. Therefore, our movement will participate in all elections, including the presidential (one), in the form it deems appropriate with the requirements of the current situation.”

There are different views about Dahlan’s influence on the election results and Fatah’s ability to make gains and not repeat the scenario from the 2006 elections, when Hamas achieved an overwhelming majority.

FASTFACT

Political analyst Mukhaimar Abu Saada said that Dahlan’s movement would run in the elections with a single list, after efforts to achieve internal Fatah reconciliation had failed.

Political analyst Mukhaimar Abu Saada said that Dahlan’s movement would run in the elections with a single list, after efforts to achieve internal Fatah reconciliation had failed.

He said it was in Hamas’ interest to have multiple Fatah lists because this approach would enhance its chances of achieving remarkable results.

He added that Fatah currently faced great challenges, not just from Dahlan’s list but also from Marwan Barghouti, who has not yet decided on participating in the elections.

“The best option is a unified Fatah, and if that is not possible, it will have the option of a partnership list with Hamas,” Saada told Arab News.

He believed it was too early to determine the extent of the damage as there were three months left before the polls and that options were still under discussion.

Options

The legislative elections will be followed by presidential elections on July 31 and then elections to form the National Council of the Palestine Liberation Organization on Aug. 31.

A member of the Fatah Central Committee, which is responsible for national dialogue, said that Fatah would start dialogues with all factions to build a broad national front in which everyone could participate for the elections.

Jibril Rajoub also said that “all options are open, including running the elections with a single list, if it is not possible to agree with the rest of the factions.”

Fatah Revolutionary Council member Abdullah Abdullah said that while Fatah was united and did not suffer from any division, Dahlan was an industry and not a national movement.

“Dahlan is a person who is dismissed from Fatah and adjudications have been issued against him,” Abdullah told Arab News. “He is not able to run in the elections. As for the members of his movement, who are mainly Fatah, there is nothing that prevents them from returning to Fatah.”

But political science professor, Naji Shurrab, said that Dahlan’s movement had become a reality that could not be ignored.

“During the past few years the movement has proven that it has become an organization with a presence and the masses not only in Gaza or the West Bank, but in the diaspora,” he told Arab News. “It has clear regional and Arab support. It has elements of financial strength, and it has succeeded in attracting youth.”

He ruled out internal Fatah reconciliation being achieved during Abbas’ lifetime and said that recent laws and judicial amendments made by the president were his attempts to exclude Dahlan from competing in the elections.

Shurrab said that Fatah would be the biggest loser from Abbas’ refusal to reconcile with Dahlan and unify the movement in the upcoming elections.

 


‘Horror scenes’ in Syrian refugee camps amid ‘extremely cold winter’: UN official

‘Horror scenes’ in Syrian refugee camps amid ‘extremely cold winter’: UN official
Updated 12 sec ago

‘Horror scenes’ in Syrian refugee camps amid ‘extremely cold winter’: UN official

‘Horror scenes’ in Syrian refugee camps amid ‘extremely cold winter’: UN official
  • ‘No one should have to live in these conditions,’ Mark Cutts tells briefing attended by Arab News
  • Nearly 3m people internally displaced in northern Syria, most of them women and children

LONDON: Brutal winter conditions in northern Syria have ushered in mass-scale suffering for 2.8 million internally displaced persons, a top UN humanitarian official warned on Monday.

“We’re extremely concerned about the situation there,” Mark Cutts, the UN’s deputy regional humanitarian coordinator for Syria, said in a briefing attended by Arab News.

The IDPs, he added, are “some of the most vulnerable people in the world,” the majority of them living in temporary camps and tents.

“During this extremely cold weather, we’ve seen some real horror scenes in the last few days — about 1,000 tents have either collapsed completely or been very badly damaged as a result of heavy snow,” said Cutts, adding that temperatures have dropped to as low as -7 degrees centigrade.

About 100,000 people have been affected by the heavy snow, while 150,000 more have been affected by freezing conditions and heavy rain.

“These are people who’ve been through a lot in the past few years. They’ve fled from one place to another. The bombs have followed them. Many of the hospitals and schools in northwest Syria have been destroyed in the 10 years of war,” said Cutts, adding that what he and his team are seeing in camps now is a “real disaster zone.”

He said: “Our humanitarian workers have been pulling people out from under their collapsed tents … They’ve been clearing snow from tents with their bare hands.”

Children, the elderly and the disabled are suffering the most from the conditions, added Cutts, who appealed to the international community to “do more, to recognize the scale of the crisis, to help us get these people out of tents and into safer, more dignified temporary shelter.”

In a final plea, he said: “It’s absolutely unacceptable that you’ve got 1.7 million people living in camps in these appalling conditions — most of them are women and children and elderly people.

“These civilians are stranded in a warzone, and now, on top of that, they’re dealing with temperatures below zero. No one should have to live in these conditions.”


Iran: ‘Possible’ to agree on prisoners, nuclear deal

Iran: ‘Possible’ to agree on prisoners, nuclear deal
Updated 4 min 39 sec ago

Iran: ‘Possible’ to agree on prisoners, nuclear deal

Iran: ‘Possible’ to agree on prisoners, nuclear deal

TEHRAN: Tehran on Monday said it is “possible” to reach an agreement on the two issues of Iran-US prisoners’ release and the Vienna talks to restore the 2015 nuclear deal.

“They are two different paths, but if the other party (the US) has the determination, there is the possibility that we reach a reliable and lasting agreement in both of them in the shortest time,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said during his weekly press conference.

Khatibzadeh’s comments came in reaction to remarks made by the US envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, who on Sunday said it is unlikely that Washington would strike an agreement unless Tehran releases four US citizens.

BACKGROUND

The four US citizens held in Iran are Iranian-American businessman Siamak Namazi, 50, and his father Baquer, 85, as well as environmentalist Morad Tahbaz, 66, and businessman Emad Sharqi, 57.

“Iran has not accepted any precondition from day one of the negotiations,” Khatibzadeh said.

He added that “the negotiations are complicated enough, and should not get more complex with complicated remarks.”


Kuwait refers two army officers to prosecution over suspected corruption in Eurofighter deal

Kuwait refers two army officers to prosecution over suspected corruption in Eurofighter deal
Updated 7 min 19 sec ago

Kuwait refers two army officers to prosecution over suspected corruption in Eurofighter deal

Kuwait refers two army officers to prosecution over suspected corruption in Eurofighter deal
  • A major general and colonel in Kuwait's army would face prosecutors over their alleged misuse of public funds
  • Kuwait ordered 28 Eurofighter Typhoon jets in 2016 under a contract valued at some $8.7 billion

LONDON: Kuwait has referred two senior army officers to the public prosecutor over suspected corruption related to a deal to buy Eurofighter Typhoon jets, the state anti-corruption body on Monday.
Kuwait received last month its first two Eurofighter Typhoons as part of an order for a total of 28 aircraft that will be delivered to the Kuwait Air Force.
“Investigations show that the defendants committed several violations that caused serious damage to public money by paying inflation bills to the manufacturer that exceeded the total value agreed upon in the main contract ... without prior permission from the relevant authorities,” the Kuwait Anti Corruption Authority (Nazaha) said in a statement.
The authority said it had received a report from the minister of defense on the ministry’s contract to purchase the aircraft, which was marred by special remarks in the inflation clause.
“The investigations revealed that the defendant committed several violations that caused serious damage to public money by issuing inflation-related bills to the manufacturer that exceeded the total value agreed upon in the main contract,” the statement said.
It added that the exchange process took place without prior permission from the concerned authorities in the defense and finance ministries, and without a documentary credit for that exchange, which affected the schedule of payments allocated to the said contract.
Nazaha said that a major general and colonel in Kuwait’s army would face prosecutors over their alleged misuse of public funds.
The authorities thanked an unnamed whistleblower for helping the government obtain information about the misuse of funds and said efforts to collect and examine evidence continued.
(With Reuters and AP)


Jordan reports its highest daily number of COVID-19 cases to date as fourth wave rages

According to government figures, 4,556,988 people in Jordan have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 4,168,651 have received two shots. (Reuters/File Photo)
According to government figures, 4,556,988 people in Jordan have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 4,168,651 have received two shots. (Reuters/File Photo)
Updated 24 January 2022

Jordan reports its highest daily number of COVID-19 cases to date as fourth wave rages

According to government figures, 4,556,988 people in Jordan have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 4,168,651 have received two shots. (Reuters/File Photo)
  • An additional 11,478 cases have been confirmed, bringing the total in the country since the pandemic began to 1,152,526
  • Nearly 23 percent of tests returned a positive result, 18 percent above the 5 percent rate considered ‘safe’ by authorities

AMMAN: Jordan on Monday reported the highest number of daily COVID-19 cases in the country since the pandemic began, as the kingdom battles to contain a surging fourth wave of coronavirus infections.

Authorities said an additional 11,478 cases have been confirmed, bringing the total to 1,152,526, and another 15 people have died of conditions related to the disease. The death toll now stands at 13,088.

Nearly 23 percent of PCR tests returned a positive result, 18 percent above the 5 percent rate considered “safe” by the government.

A further 158 COVID-19 patients were admitted to hospital, while 107 have recovered and been discharged. A total of 714 people are currently receiving hospital treatment for the disease.

The government said occupancy rates of isolation beds by COVID-19 patients in the country’s northern, central and southern regions stand at 10 percent, 19 percent and 8 percent respectively.

According to government figures, 4,556,988 people in Jordan have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 4,168,651 have received two shots.


Algerian president in Egypt on official visit

Algerian president in Egypt on official visit
Updated 24 January 2022

Algerian president in Egypt on official visit

Algerian president in Egypt on official visit
  • Abdelmadjid Tebboune is on a two-day state visit
  • Egypt is the third Arab country that Tebboune has visited since he took office in December 2019

CAIRO: Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi received on Monday evening his Algerian counterpart Abdelmadjid Tebboune at Cairo International Airport.

Tebboune is on a two-day state visit, and is expected to discuss with El-Sisi Arab and African security issues, including the crisis in neighboring Libya.

The two presidents previously met in January 2020 on the sidelines of the Berlin conference on the Libyan crisis.

Egypt is the third Arab country that Tebboune has visited since he took office in December 2019, after Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.

El-Sisi received a written message from Tebboune last week after receiving Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra in Cairo.

El-Sisi and Lamamra discussed bilateral relations and Arab issues, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Libyan crisis.