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Wednesday, April 13, 2011     GET REAL

U.S. cable raises questions on mental stability
of Abbas challenger

LONDON — The challenger to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was said to be mentally unstable.


U.S. government documents asserted that the health of Fatah Central Committee member Mohammed Dahlan has been deteriorating over the last five years. The documents reported that Dahlan, a former PA security chief and challenger to succeed Abbas, underwent a mental breakdown in 2005.

In November 2010, Dahlan left his home in Ramallah for Amman after he was accused of trying to overthrow Abbas. Since then, the Fatah Central Committee has suspended his membership and was investigating Dahlan on allegations that he supplied Israeli weapons to Libyan Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

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"I told him 'You are sick,' " a U.S. embassy cable quoted a senior Israeli official, Amos Gilad, as saying. "And he [Dahlan] started screaming and shouting at me. He shouted for hours."

The cable, released by WikiLeaks, reported on a briefing by Gilad to a senior State Department official. Gilad told the department's Elizabeth Dibble, that Dahlan was emotionally unstable and could not withstand the strain of a political campaign.

Gilad recalled a meeting with Dahlan on Sept. 16, 2005 in which the then-PA civil affairs minister was accompanied by his daughter-in-law. After Dahlan ranted for hours, Gilad and Dahlan's daughter-in-law called for a doctor, who recommended hospitalization.

"He [Dahlan] refused and said he had to speak to thousands of Palestinians on Sept. 17," Gilad was quoted as saying. "He then collapsed on his bed. He looked ghostly white."

The Israeli official, head of the Defense Ministry's political-security division, warned Dahlan that he could not campaign. Gilad said Dahlan could be hurt or killed if he appeared in public.

"I said, 'If you leave this room you will either be martyred or end up paralyzed,' " Gilad recalled. "He broke down in my arms and said he would go to hospital."

Gilad said the Israelis arranged for Dahlan to be admitted into a special private room in an unidentified Tel Aviv hospital. Soon, Dahlan was taken to a hospital with a police escort, and doctors later said he was suffering from a slipped disc.

Dahlan did not remain long at the hospital. Gilad said Jordan's King Abdullah sent a helicopter to Tel Aviv, and within 30 minutes Dahlan was taken to Amman for treatment.

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