The former national security adviser to Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat has sharply criticized his former boss as well as the Islamic terror group Hamas, threatening a tit-for-tat response if the latter commits acts of violence against PA assets.
“We have goons just as Hamas has goons,” said Col. Muhammad Dahlan, quoted in a report published by the London-based Arabic daily newspaper Al-Hayat.
“In response to the burning of any PA police station by Hamas, he will burn down all the Hamas centers,” said the report, which was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute.
Dahlan went on to heap more scorn on Hamas, calling one of its leaders, Dr. Abd Al-Aziz Al-Rantisi, “a walking civil strife and an ignoramus.”
“Who does he think he is? The Mullah Omar, leader of the Taliban?” asked Dahlan.
MEMRI analysts said the following day Dahlan denied all comments attributed to him.
But the paper said the former security chief also accused the Palestinian leadership of scheming with Washington to ensure that blame for 50 tons of weapons being smuggled to the PA by Iran would instead be leveled at another terrorist group, Hezbollah.
“Dahlan revealed that Palestinian leaders agreed with the Americans that Secretary of State Colin Powell would declare that the Karin A ship was heading to Hezbollah and not to the PA,” said the paper.
The Karin A was intercepted by Israeli naval forces in a raid just before dawn on Jan. 3.
The paper also reported that Dahlan said following the 9-11 attacks, he sent a report to Arafat suggesting the PA abandon its current intifada against Israel.
“The intifada is the means, not the purpose,” Dahlan was quoted as saying. “We should have turned it into a popular intifada and stopped the armed activity, but we didn’t because we don’t have the courage, as a leadership, to do so.”
He added that the whole of the Palestinian people is “a mob that opts to extremism and rejection.”
“The Palestinian leadership must force its decisions on the people, in some issue, even it if has to use a stick,” he added. “The Palestinian leadership missed no opportunity to make mistakes.”
The paper quoted Dahlan as saying he believed there was a “growing feeling” inside Hamas that “the PA is not worthy of surviving.” But, he said, the PA leadership refused to let Hamas “get the feeling that this is a good opportunity to eliminate the PA.”
“We have a red line,” Dahlan said. “Palestinian society will not be dragged into domestic fighting.
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