In the West, Dahlan is primarily known as a Palestinian with a political future in Gaza. However, he merely uses this image to fund one or more than one NGO that support minorities and democratic voices. The plight of Palestinians is quite popular in America and Europe. Their need for political representation and the number of diaspora and other refugees is not a powerful entry tool into Northern European and American left-wing circles but an ideal way to track dissident activity. A Dahlan-funded Palestinian run NGO called Global Network for Rights and Development (GNRD) was charged with laundering millions of dollars. Much of their work was to observe elections.
On the surface Dahlan is a moderate Western friendly Palestinian politician who supports the co-existence with Israel and has a history of running security and intel apparatus inside Gaza to the benefit of outside nations. The assumption is that he would be democratically elected and prevent terrorist recruitment and attacks. An image and rhetoric which is very palatable for Western countries that are fed up with spending billions on the never-ending Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Beginning with the Oslo talks in 1993, Dahlan has established a solid reputation for deal making and trustworthiness with Americans and European countries to a degree that he has been seen attending the likes of the World Economic Forum in Davos, as well as meetings at NATO and Sorbonne University, to give a few examples. Dahlan is known as a deal maker, a fair practitioner and someone who pays his dues. Something that seems at odds with the destruction of Arab democracy on behalf of a family dictatorship.
Dahlan has been exploiting this good-will hoping that his track record of backing strong men, human rights abusers, and dictators will not stick. His NGOs in Norway and Switzerland were created to stand up for the rights of diaspora and combat radicalization, a highly marketable goal for the West. But legal investigation found that they were fronts to move and laundering money. An array of reports and police investigation indicated that Dahlan’s NGOs were not solely working for public welfare and bridging the West and the Muslim world. Instead, they were used to serve Dahlan’s agenda in the undeveloped parts of the world. An ideal Trojan Horse.