US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, said that America is not considering replacing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas with Fatah’s dismissed leader, Mohammed Dahlan.
Friedman made the comments yesterday in an interview with Israel Hayom, which is known to be close to the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
When asked whether the US administration is considering nominating Dahlan, who currently lives in the UAE, as the new Palestinian leader, Friedman replied: “We’re not thinking about it, we have no desire to engineer the Palestinian leadership.”
The newspaper pointed out that according to reports, the United States may support Dahlan in order remove Abbas.
Friedman attacked the Palestinian leadership, while referring to the West Bank as Judea and Samaria.
“The Palestinian leadership is not serving the people properly,” he said.
The US official added, in reference to the West Bank, “I believe that people in Judea and Samaria want a better life. The Palestinian people need to understand that it is possible to achieve such a goal.”
“Their leadership is still attached to long-standing complaints and irrelevant issues. They have to join the 21st century, because they are on the wrong side of history right now.”
Friedman stressed that the lands of the West Bank belonged to Israel and that Jews had the right to settle there.
He also strongly advocated for the U.S recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and became the first diplomat to assume responsibility for the U.S Embassy, which was transferred w from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Fifty-seven-year-old Dahlan was expelled from Fatah’s ruling body in 2011 on allegations of plotting to overthrow Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and has been living in exile in the UAE since 2012.
He was the former head of the Fatah-dominated Preventive Security Force in the Gaza Strip.
In December, Turkey added Dahlan to its most wanted terrorist list, with a $1.7 million bounty on his head, due to his alleged involvement in perpetrating the attempted military coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government on 15 July 2016, in cooperation with followers of the exiled Turkish cleric, Fethullah Gulen, who remains in the US.
Update on 21 September 2020, Israel Hayom issued a correction, saying it had “misquoted the ambassador’s answer on whether the US would like to appoint Mohammed Dahlan as the next Palestinian leader. The correct quote is: “We’re not thinking about it.”” MEMO’s headline and piece have been changed to reflect this.
— Israeli Affairs Expert ايمن الحنيطي (@AymanHunaiti) September 17, 2020