Mohammed Dahlan, the former Fatah party strongman in Gaza, denied on Thursday that he recently met with Shlomo Molcho, one of Israel’s two negotiators with the Palestinian Authority and a confidant to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
The Maariv newspaper reported that the two men met in Dubai to establish a closer relationship with Dahlan, who told European Parliament members in Brussels last month that he is planning to replace Abbas.
Abbas is in his sixth year as chairman since his term four=year term ran out following the Palestinian Authority’s first and, as of today, the only presidential election.
Given Dahan’s stated intentions in Brussels, his denial is worth as much as the word of any Palestinian Authority official.
Dahlan literally ran Gaza until Hamas overthrow the Fatah faction in a bloody militia war in 2007.
He was one of the most feared men in Gaza, known for total corruption and for close ties with Israeli leaders.
Dahlan told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency Thursday he has not met with Molcho since the late 1990s and called the Maariv report “fiction.”