Abdullah, Mashaal discuss stalled peace process

Jordan's king briefs Hamas chief on efforts to implement two-state solution; both voice opposition to confederation.

Mashaal and Abdullah 521 (photo credit: YOUSEF ALLAN / REUTERS)
Mashaal and Abdullah 521
(photo credit: YOUSEF ALLAN / REUTERS)
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal met in Amman on Monday with Jordanian King Abdullah to discuss efforts to revive the stalled peace process and end the Fatah-Hamas dispute.
The meeting came amid reports that Jordan has asked Hamas to use its relations with the powerful Muslim Brotherhood organization to avoid chaos and anarchy in the kingdom.
The Muslim Brotherhood has been spearheading protests calling for major reforms and an end to corruption in Jordan.
Abdullah told Mashaal that Jordan supports efforts to achieve reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, a Jordanian government official said after the meeting.
The monarch also hailed the recent United Nations General Assembly vote in favor of upgrading the Palestinians’ status to non-member observer as a “major step toward restoring the rights of the Palestinian people, especially the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on their homeland,” the official said.
Abdullah, according to the official, also briefed the Hamas leader on his recent efforts to revive the stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, so that the two sides could start moving toward the implementation of the two-state solution.
Mashaal, for his part, praised Jordan’s role in providing the Palestinians with humanitarian and medical aid, according to a statement published in the official Jordanian media.
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.
Hamas has also reassured Amman that it does not support calls to replace Jordan with a Palestinian state.
Following Monday’s meeting, Mashaal reiterated Hamas’s opposition to the idea of creating a Palestinian state in Jordan. He also expressed opposition to talk about a confederation between the Palestinians and Jordan, saying such an idea should be discussed only after the establishment of a Palestinian state.
The meeting between the two leaders comes after a recent conflict in words between Abdullah and Hamas last week.
On Friday the Jordanian king gave a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, during which he said that Hamas appeared to be ready to soften their position and live peacefully next to Israel, according to a report on the Albawaba website. Abdullah also stated that Hamas was becoming “a bit more realistic” and was open to dialogue with Israel.
The Albawaba report stated that “Jordan’s monarch was soon made to eat his words when Hamas shot down his hopeful claims point blank,” as Hamas spokesman Yahya Moussa al-Ebadsh stated on the website, Palestine Today, that its relationship with Israel would not change.
“The only relationship with this enemy is the resistance,” he said.