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'Hamas leader Mashaal seeking presidency of PLO'
By JPOST.COM STAFF
01/29/2013
'Al-Quds Al-Arabi' quotes Palestinian sources as saying Jordan and Qatar are pushing for Mashaal to chair PLO.
 
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal is seeking to take over the presidency of the PLO, currently chaired by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported on Monday.

According to the report, Mashaal’s desire to chair the PLO is behind his decision not to stand for reelection to his position as chairman of Hamas’s Political Bureau.

Al-Quds Al-Arabi quoted Palestinian sources as saying several Arab states, led by Jordan and Qatar, are pushing for Mashaal to chair the PLO as a way of getting Hamas to sign the Oslo Accords and recognize Israel.

The report added that Mashaal’s meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah on Monday was part of the regional effort to spur the resumption of peace talks which would lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state within the pre-1967 lines with agreed upon land swaps.

Abdullah was seeking a commitment from Hamas to accept such an agreement.

Mashaal and other Hamas leaders were expelled from Jordan and stripped of their Jordanian citizenship more than a decade ago. But over the past 18 months, Jordan has moved toward restoring its relations with Hamas, allowing Mashaal and some of his top aides to visit the kingdom on at least three occasions.

The rapprochement between Jordan and Hamas came after the Islamist movement pledged to refrain from meddling in the kingdom’s internal affairs.
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