Hamas Strikes Deal with Amman over Exiled Leader
Albawaba.com - Amman
Jordan has accepted the return of Ibrahim Ghoshe after he accepted in a written message to freeze all his political activities in his capacity as Hamas spokesman, without giving up his membership at the Palestinian group, reported Al Jazeera satellite channel.
However, AFP said that he agreed to “freeze“ his membership, quoting Information Minister Saleh Qallab.
"Mr. Ghoshe sent the Jordanian government a hand-written document in which he pledges to freeze all political, media and organizational activity within Hamas," Qallab said.
He said he expected Ghoshe to return "within 48 hours.”
Government officials said Jordan's King Abdullah II instructed the government to allow Ghoshe's return to Amman "where he will be able to live as an ordinary citizen,” according to the agency.
A text of the message received by AFP in Amman and bearing the signature of Ibrahim Ghoshe said that the Hamas leader left for Thailand "of his own desire" and hopes to return to Jordan in a few days.
"I have left of my own desire to Bangkok and I hope to return to beloved Jordan, God willing, in a few days and I will freeze my political activity in Hamas," said the message in Arabic which was dated Thursday.
In his message Ghoshe also thanks Jordan's King Abdullah II "for having instructed the government to end this crisis."
Qallab earlier said Ghoshe had left early Thursday for Bangkok after being stranded two weeks at Queen Alia Airport amid Jordan's refusal to let him into the country.
A Jordanian official source has told Albawaba.com that Hamas leader Ibrahim Ghoshe, denied entry into the kingdom after his sudden return from exile, on Thursday left Jordan "of his free will for a third country, which later turned out to be Thailand."
But Al Jazeera said Ghoshe's destination was "definitely" Yemen.
Explaining, Hamas politburo head Khaled Mishaal told the station that his group and the Jordanian government agreed on Wednesday that Ghoshe was to leave for Yemen, before coming back home under the agreement, but the group “was surprised when news said he was heading for Bangkok.”
Mishaal told Albawaba.com from Doha on Thursday that they were not sure where Ghoshe was.
“I’m confused,” he said.
Apparently, the changed schedule prompted Hamas to react angrily, saying the official was deported by force.
A Hamas leader in Gaza told Al Jazeera that his group had called Yemeni authorities, who confirmed they had arranged to host the 65-year-old Islamist.
Mishaal told Al Jazeera that Sanaa was consulted on the agreement and welcomed Ghoshe.
Ghoshe's lawyer, Saleh Armouti, also confirmed his departure, saying Bangkok was the strongest possibility, echoing a Hamas statement issued Wednesday night.
In a statement to Albawaba.com, Armouti contradicted the Jordanian official's statement that Ghoshe had left of his own free will, charging that his client was "deported against his will."
He said that "the party behind his deportation will take full responsibility for any consequences."
Asked to elaborate, Armouti said that the ailing spokesman was vulnerable to an assassination attempt by the Israeli Mossad in Thailand.
Meanwhile, the Qatari plane, which had been grounded in the airport since arriving with Ghoshe, has been allowed to fly back home, reported Al Jazeera satellite channel.
But according to AFP on Friday, Qatar Airways called Thursday for official word from Jordan authorizing the return of the plane which had ferried Hamas leader to Amman.
In a statement quoted by the official QNA agency, the airline said it had not received "official notification of the release of the plane and its crew."
"We will not go ahead with the slightest move until we receive official written notice from the Jordanian authorities," it said.
Ghoshe, a Jordanian of Palestinian origin, flew into Amman unexpectedly from his exile in Doha on June 14 in defiance of a government decision in November 1999 to outlaw Hamas activity in Jordan.
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