Hamas Jordan rift growing
The growing rift between Hamas and Jordan was acknowledged Saturday amid contradicting statements by the Hamas-led government and the Palestinian presidency.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar, a senior member of Hamas, said on Saturday that he was prepared to visit Jordan anytime to settle a crisis between Hamas and Jordan over a weapon smuggling allegation. "We are ready to travel to Jordan to end the crisis and deal with its aftermath," Zahar told reporters.
On April 19, Jordan cancelled a scheduled visit to Amman by Zahar after uncovering various types of weapons smuggled by Hamas activists.
Palestinian officials in PA President Abbas' office slammed Hamas for denying that it was involved in weapons smuggling and for refusing to participate in the probe delegation to Amman.
Hamas claimed that it was not directly involved in the affair, and asked the kingdom to communicate directly with Hamas leaders exiled in Syria "because they were accused of the plots."
Secretary General of the Palestinian presidency Tayeb Abdel Raheem demanded on Friday that Hamas punish its members who are involved in "storing weapons and planning attacks against Jordan."
Hamas spokesman and member of parliament Mushir al-Masri expressed on Saturday "astonishment" over Abdel Raheem's statements. Al-Masri and other Hamas officials have strongly rejected Abdel Raheem's way in dealing with the internal situation.
The Palestinian people "are used to hearing Abdel Raheem's statements which mean to cause strife and unrest," al-Masri said.
Hamas denied the charge as "totally false and groundless," saying that Jordan's stance was to exert pressure on Hamas and the cabinet.
On his part, spokesman of the PA government, Dr. Ghazi Hamad told PIC Abdel Raheem's remarks were "irresponsible and display clear ignorance of the nature of events", charging him of playing a role in tightening the siege on his own people.
"It is indeed sad to say that Abdul Rahim is reiterating the Jordanian government's falsifications without any verification", he said.