Saturday, July 7, 2012

Ex-Arafat aide who exposed Fatah's attempted coup in Gaza in 2007, dies at 74

Hani al-Hassan, once one of the closest advisers of Yasser Arafat, and the man who in 2007 first brought out that the so called 'coup' of Hamas in Gaza was in fact a response to an attempted coup by Fatah, died on Thursday in Amman.  He was 74.
Hani al-Hassan
Hani al-Hassan was a younger brother of one of the founding fathers of Al-Fatah and the PLO, Khaled al-Hassan. He was a member of the Central Council of Fatah and held many functions in the PLO, including ambassador to Tehran and Amman. He also was briefly interior minister in the Palestinian Authority, a position from which he was removed in 2003 under pressure from Mahmoud Abbas, the current Palestinian president, then a key aide to Arafat.Al-Hassan's main role, however, was that for decades he was a close adviser to Arafat, a position he retained even after in 1993 he had voiced his opposition against the Oslo Accords. After Arafat's death he remained a national security adviser, until Abbas sacked him in 2007, because of an interview he gave to al-Jazeera during which he accused a faction in Fatah around the former head of security of Fatah in Gaza, Mohammed Dahlan, of having instigated the short war with Hamas in Gaza. Al Hassan referred to Dahlan's group as the  "collaborators"  or the "Dayton group'' (after U.S. General Keith Dayton). He accused them to have planned a coup against Hamas and said that Hamas, which seized power, could not have acted otherwise "to protect the national cause'.  The members of the Dayton group, to which Mahmoud Abbas also belonged,  are believed to have in turn accused Al-Hassan of warning the leaders of Hamas that an attack by Fatah was  imminent.Al-Hassan was the first who confirmed, with his statement to Al-Jazeera, that the conflict in Gaza was started by Fatah with the help of the Americans and with the aim to oust Hamas. His story was later confirmed in an article in the American magazine Vanity Fair. General Dayton was the American general who set up a new Palestinian police force, paid for by the U.S. and in cooperation with Israel and Jordan.

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