Jordan defers Hamas dispute to aid PA

PM al-Bakhit: Palestinian stability more important than ire over terror plot.

Jordan vowed Tuesday to put on hold its dispute with Hamas so as not to increase pressure on the Palestinians, currently struggling with violence between rival factions. "The deterioration of the situation has affirmed his Majesty's eagerness to spare the Palestinian people from sliding into a civil war," Jordan's Prime Minister Marouf al-Bakhit told reporters. "Jordan has risen above its simple differences with Hamas." Jordan announced this spring that it had uncovered a plot by Hamas to carry out attacks on public institutions and officials in the kingdom. It also said it had uncovered a large weapons cache that included Iranian-made Katyusha rockets and anti-tank missiles. But al-Bakhit said that the kingdom was willing to put aside that matter until after hosting the Palestinian leadership for talks in a bid to help end violence between rival factions. The official Petra news agency reported Monday that al-Bakhit had invited his Palestinian counterpart, Ismail Haniyeh, for talks in the Jordanian capital with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, in a bid to help end the violence wracking the Palestinians. The agency did not say whether the Palestinian leaders had accepted al-Bakhit's overture. The Jordanian premier told journalists that his country "has specific ideas to help the two sides to reach a unity government solution." He did not elaborate or say when the meeting would take place. "The priority is the future of the Palestinian people and that is more important than any dispute," al-Bakhit said. "The dispute will be solved through security channels and our priority is the unity of the Palestinians." Three men appeared on Jordanian state television in May, identifying themselves as Hamas members and confessing to the plot. One of them said he acted on orders from Hamas officials in Syria, stashing weapons in Jordan and monitoring a Jordanian intelligence officer, apparently for a possible attack. The three are on by the State Security Court. A session scheduled for Wednesday has been postponed.