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Is Abbas persecuting supporters of his rival?

Ahead of the Fatah conference, activists are claiming that President Mahmoud Abbas persecutes all those suspected of supporting his exiled rival, Mohammed Dahlan.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attends a meeting for the Central Council of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, March 19, 2015 file photo  REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman/File photo - RTSR1TC

They are afraid to talk, lest they are being wiretapped or are under surveillance. They are afraid to meet in a group, lest they be accused of illicit underground organization. They fear the knock at the door that can take place any moment — the knock leading to arrest and imprisonment. Those with families are afraid that their children will be stigmatized and they themselves will be crucified as traitors attempting to subvert the rais’ (president’s) regime.

And they have good reason to fear. In recent weeks — October-November — those who answer to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas have indeed been “cleansing” the Palestinian Authority (PA) of the supporters of former Fatah senior member Mohammed Dahlan, Abbas’ bitter rival, under Abbas’ orders. The campaign is running full speed ahead and on all fronts: in refugee camps, where support for Dahlan is high; in Fatah institutions; and even in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). All this, in anticipation of Fatah’s seventh conference scheduled to take place Nov. 29 in Ramallah.

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