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When Palestinian Politics Get Personal

3:20 PM, Jan 26, 2012 • By JONATHAN SCHANZER
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While Dahlan will probably not pose a political threat from exile, Abbas will likely keep after him. But it won’t end there, either. The Palestinian president has also picked fights with other potential political threats, including Prime Minister Fayyad, and Yasser Abbed Rabbo of the PLO. All three share a belief that the Palestinian Authority under Abbas has become less transparent and strayed from its original goal: a viable and transparent state that coexists with its neighbors, including Israel.

The Dahlan affair can best be understood as a witch hunt. It underscores the fact that Abbas has consolidated power, and that he will abide no challenges. Abbas’s whims bode poorly for the Palestinian Authority, which may now expend more energy settling scores than resolving the long-standing conflict with Israel.

Jonathan Schanzer is vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and author of Hamas vs. Fatah: The Struggle for Palestine (Palgrave 2008).

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