Exiled Palestinian opposition figure Mohammed Dahlan has called on the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) to integrate Hamas and the Islamic Jihad militant group as the PLO threatens to break-up over an internal dispute.
Speaking to the BBC Arabic, Dahlan said that the "homeland is in danger, and the PLO is in danger” as the Palestinian National Council, which is in charge of electing the PLO's primary executive body, is set to meet after a 20-year hiatus to decide upon a new executive committee.
Dahlan’s call comes after Fatah’s central committee member and Minister for Palestinian Economic Development and Reconstruction (PECDAR) Mohammad Shtayyah on Thursday invited Hamas members to join the PNC meeting, which is due to be held on Sept. 15-16 in Ramallah.
Earlier in August, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced his resignation as the head of the PLO along with the 10 executive committees.
Dahlan, who was once a prominent member of the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah Party in the Gaza Strip before Hamas took power in the coastal enclave in 2007, has been living in exile in the UAE since 2011.
In 2014, Dahlan was tried in absentia after being accused of the embezzlement of $17 million.
However, he hinted that he may return to his homeland, saying he has a right to run for the presidency of the PLO if he so wishes.
"I do not and will not seek to be president, but I have the right to nominate myself if I wanted," Dahlan said.
At the end of April, a Palestinian court dismissed a high-profile corruption case against him, in a move that could open the door for his return to the West Bank, and a bid for succession to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.
Although Abbas continues to serve as Palestinian Authority president, as he has done since being elected in 2005, his resignation from the PLO may indicate that he could soon be stepping down from his position of authority completely, Ma'an news suggested.
Some critics and analysts, on the other hand, have dismissed Abbas’s resignation as a farce. "it's all theatrics. It is highly possible that the PNC will refuse to accept the resignations or will re-elect the same members again," Birzeit University Professor Samir Awad told Al Jazeera.
"The PA isn't interested in real reform. They are just interested in getting rid of opponents and displaying a visage of reform."
Dahlan also doubted the sincerity of Abbas’s resignation. Abbas "does not want elections and does not want to resign,” Dahlan told BBC Arabic, adding his belief that Abbas is not interested in reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas.