Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Jordan plays hard ball with Hamas

Jordan is accusing the Hamas Palestinian Authority of smuggling weapons into Jordan. Here’s how the Jordan Times reports the story:
AMMAN (Petra) — The government on Tuesday said it postponed a visit by Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar after authorities recently seized weapons and explosives that were smuggled by Hamas into Jordan.

“The government considers this as a proof that the Hamas movement was exercising a dual approach in dealing with Jordan,” Government Spokesperson Nasser Judeh said. “In light of the recent developments, including the seizure of weapons and explosives that elements from the Hamas movement had brought into Jordan, Zahar's visit, scheduled for today, was postponed indefinitely.”

According to Judeh, security services observed several attempts by Hamas elements to smuggle various types of weapons into Jordan and store them. “Such extremely dangerous weapons included missiles, explosives and machineguns,” Judeh added.
Security services also observed at different stages activities by Hamas elements in Jordan, including surveillance of vital targets in Amman and other cities, he said. “Such practices contradicts the nature of the Jordanian-Palestinian ties as well as the repeated positive affirmations by the new Palestinian government, which pledged not to use the Jordanian arena for any purposes that would jeopardise the security of the Kingdom or interfere in its internal affairs,” Judeh said.

He said “the government emphasises the deep relationship between Jordan and the Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority.” “Such actions do not serve this relation or the higher interest and the cause of the Palestinian people. Jordan historically considered supporting the Palestinian cause as one of its political constants.”

Hamas, of course, denies the charges of the Jordanian government but what surprises me is that they are not blaming the Joooos according to this Ynet News Online report:
Hamas denied on Wednesday accusations by Jordan that the Islamic militant group had stored weapons on its territory and said it regretted Amman's cancellation of a visit by the Palestinian foreign minister. "These accusations are false and completely contradict the well-known Hamas attitude that it does not intervene ... In the internal affairs of other countries," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said.

A Jordanian government spokesman on Tuesday said security forces had seized rocket launchers and other weapons from a Hamas arms cache and had scrapped a visit by new Palestinian Foreign Minister and senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar.
The Islamist faction, which is sworn to Israel's destruction and took over the Palestinian government on March 29 after winning January elections, was also accused of using Jordan to engage in anti-Israeli activities.
Palestinian deputy prime minister Naser al-Shaer, also from Hamas, said the new government was not involved. "We have no information about this incident and we are certain the brethren in Jordan will find out the Palestinians are not involved in such acts," Shaer told Reuters. Zahar is touring Arab states to urgently try to raise funds after the United States and other world powers suspended direct aid, saying Hamas must renounce violence and recognise Israel and past interim peace deals. "We regret the way the Jordanian government used (this) to justify the cancellation of the visit by Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar at the last moment," Abu Zuhri said.

Interesting to note that Khaled Mashaal, the current leader for Hamas, was once expelled from Jordan for his, shall we say, “activities” in the Kingdom.

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