'Hamas, Jordan open a new page for Palestinians'

By JPOST.COM STAFF
January 29, 2012 17:48

Mashaal says Palestinians won't accept any "settlement program or alternative homeland," Israel doesn't want peace; Hamas leader thanks Jordanian king for support of Palestinians.

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Mashaal, Qatar crown prince, King Abdullah

Mashaal, Qatar crown prince, King Abdullah_311. (photo credit: Reuters)

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal said Sunday that his discussions with Jordanian King Abdullah II in Amman "opened a new page" for Palestinians, Hamas affiliate Al Resalah reported.

"Any discussions between Hamas and Jordan opens a new page between all sides in the Palestinian issue," Mashaal said.

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Mashaal was visiting Jordan on the first diplomatic missions since the kingdom deported him and other Hamas officials in 1999.

Speaking at a press conference after meetings with the king, Mashaal said Israel does not want peace and that Hamas refuses a program of settlement or an "alternative homeland."

"Jordan is for Jordanians, and Palestine is for the Palestinians," Mashaal said during a press conference after a meeting with Abdullah in Amman.

Mashaal reportedly thanked the Jordanian king for his support of Palestinians.

It was unclear still whether Mashaal, who holds Jordanian citizenship, would get his passport back. Mashaal also did not comment on whether Jordan would allow the group to reestablish a political office there as violence in Syria continues to worsen.

Mashaal visited Amman along with Qatari crown prince Tamim bin Hamad al Thani.

A Hamas official in Gaza said that Qatar played a major role in persuading the monarch to allow Mashaal to visit. According to the official, Qatar has been trying in recent months to convince Mashaal and other Hamas leaders to leave Syria because of President Bashar Assad’s violent crackdown on anti-government protesters.

Al Hayat reported last week that Mashaal was planning on visiting the Gaza Strip with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, through Egypt, in order to further support inter-Palestinian reconciliation.

Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report


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