Upon learning that he has been excluded from the new, thousands of demonstrators marched in the city of Khan Yunis and other places in the southern Gaza Strip over the past three days in support of Dahlan.
The protesters, many of them members of the Preventive Security Service and Fatah's armed wing, Aksa Martyrs Brigades, chanted slogans condemning Qurei's cabinet and three veteran Fatah leaders known as opponents of Dahlan - Abbas Zaki, Hani al-Hassan and Sakher Habash.
In an unprecedented move, the demonstrators also set fire to effigies representing the three and called for punishing them under the pretext that they are "opportunists" and "collaborators".
Fatah leaders and activists in the West Bank called on Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat to order an investigation to find out who organized the series of pro-Dahlan demonstrations.
These rallies have enraged many of Fatah's top leaders and activists, who have accused the ousted Security Minister of trying to stage a coup d'etat in the organization that was founded by Arafat nearly four decades ago. Some Fatah activists who participated in the protests have sought to distance themselves from the event, saying they were misled into believing that the demonstrations were organized to protest against Israel's decision in principle to "remove" Arafat.
Maybe we're seeing the beginnings of a palestinian Civil War, and maybe that’s a good thing. What's not good is the hatred and raw emotion of the protestors. We all know how collaborators are treated in the disputed territories. What's worrisome is that both sides act the same way.
The question that comes to mind is, "What will happen if Dahlan's supporters ultimately oust Arafat?" "Then what?"" Will the replacements be any more willing to live in peace with Israel? The fight seems to be more of means than of the end. Dahlan, and his ilk, still want to destroy Israel, they just think that the current Armed Struggle is counter-productive to that end. Should I be hopeful because of that?