The United States is considering backing former Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan as the next president of the Palestinian Authority (PA), according to David Friedman, the US ambassador to Israel.
There has been speculation that Dahlan, a staunch rival of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and an adviser to UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, could be backed by Washington to lower the current seat.
Asked in an interview with Israel Hayom on Wednesday if the US was considering the possibility of “appointing” Dahlan, who lives in the UAE, as the next Palestinian leader, Friedman replied: “We are thinking about it, we did not want to create a Palestinian leadership “.
Israel-UAE deal: Palestinian protesters burn photos of Abu Dhabi crown prince
Friedman’s remarks follow his participation Tuesday in the signing in Washington of a normalization agreement between Israel, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
Last month, Palestinians across the occupied territories demonstrated against the UAE agreement.
Video footage of a protest in Ramallah showed demonstrators setting fire to photos of the UAE crown prince and Dahlan – who is on Turkey’s most wanted terror list for allegedly playing a part of the coup. failed country 2016.
Dahlan also brought and then dropped a defamation case against Middle East Eye, which initially reported his alleged role in the plot.
Abbas and other Palestinian leaders have condemned the agreements, which they say violate a long-standing pan-Arab position that Israel can normalize relations only in exchange for land.
On his return flight from Washington with the Israeli delegation, Friedman told Israel Hayom that the current Palestinian leadership was still holding very old and irrelevant complaints.
“They need to unite in the 21st century. They are on the wrong side of history at the moment,” he said.
The UAE said it had received a major concession from Israel and the US as part of a normalization deal to halt plans to annex territory in the occupied West Bank.
However, when asked about the annexation, Friedman replied, “I think it will happen.”
Arab normalization with Israel: Who is next?
He added that he believed the issue could be reviewed in a way that would be less controversial.
“It ‘s a temporary suspension,” he said.
The ambassador also predicted that the normalization agreements marked the beginning of the end of the Arab-Israeli conflict, because many more countries will join soon.
“We broke the ice and made peace with two important countries in the region,” he said.
As promised by US President Donald Trump, additional diplomatic progress will surely follow, Friedman said.
“Once the dust settles, within months or a year, the Israeli-Arab conflict will be over,” he said.
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