'Hamas can have officials in all Arab capitals'

Hamas leader responds to Jordan PM, who said Jordan would let Hamas officials stay in the country, not practice politics.

Hamas leaders Khaled Meshaal and Moussa Abu Marzouk 311 (R) (photo credit: Khaled Al Hariri / Reuters)
Hamas leaders Khaled Meshaal and Moussa Abu Marzouk 311 (R)
(photo credit: Khaled Al Hariri / Reuters)
Hamas has the right to have political representatives in all Arab capitals, Hamas-affiliated news outlet Al Resalah reported a senior Hamas official as saying, after Jordanian Prime Minister Awn Al-Khasawneh said Jordan is planning to allow Hamas leaders to reside in his country but not practice politics.
"One cannot prevent the Hamas leadership from practicing politics because its aim is to protect the rights of the Palestinian people," Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk said.
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"We hope Jordan will rethink its decision in this regard," he added, despite the fact that the group's leadership was officially expelled from Jordan by King Abdullah II more than a decade ago.
In a Monday interview with the Time, Khasawneh explained that “We will be finding modalities to bring back members of Hamas and their families."
The Jordanian prime minister stipulated, however, that the organization would not be allowed to set up a new headquarters in the capital, after reports that the Hamas was moving its leaders out of its political bureau in Damascus.
Last month, London-based Arabic language newspaper Al Hayat reported that relations between the Syrian government and Hamas had become strained, and that the Palestinian Islamist group's officials had left Syria for "other countries."
In January, the same newspaper reported that Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal had fled Syria for Jordan with his family. The report claimed that other officials have taken refuge in the Hashemite Kingdom as well.
Hamas officials have denied that the Damascus bureau is closing its doors, but Khasawneh's comments seem to indicate that a growing number of Hamas officials are finding themselves seeking out new countries of residence.
Khasawneh - a former judge at the International Court of Justice - told Time that he felt Hamas's expulsion was "wrong" and "unconstitutional."
"The idea is not to bring them back as a launching pad for jihad against Israel or whatever. But as individuals they should be allowed to come back," he told Time.
The group moved its offices to Damascus after Jordan banned Hamas in 1999, exiling leader Khaled Mashaal, who resettled in Syria.