The four Hamas leaders who were expelled from Jordan in September 1999 are welcomed to return to Jordan "if they abide by a set of conditions," Jordan's Prime Minister Ali Abu Ragheb was quoted by the Jordan Times newspaper as telling the Parliament Wednesday.
Lower House Speaker Abdel-Salam Majali said that the prime minister described the Hamas leaders as "brothers who are members of a national and Islamic organization."
He also described them as "freedom fighters [Mujahideen]."
"But to be part of a [non-Jordanian] party on Jordanian soil is an illegal act," Majali quoted the premier as saying.
A member of parliament, Salameh Hiyari told the daily that Abu Ragheb noted that "they must either abandon their Jordanian citizenship and passport and take a two-year temporary travel document, or relinquish all links with Hamas and live as Jordanian citizens."
The deputy said that in any case, the government will not allow them to practice any such activities on Jordanian soil "with or without Jordanian citizenship."
Another deputy, Khalil Atiyah, told the paper that he will contact the Hamas leaders, who are currently residing in Qatar, to seek their reply to the government proposals.
"The ball is now in Hamas' court, and we hope that they will respond to this offer," Atiyah said.
In a nationwide crackdown in 1999, Hamas offices in Amman were shut down and politburo chief Khalid Mish'al and three other members, Ibrahim Gosheh, Sami Khatar and Izzat Risheq, were expelled from Jordan after being charged with membership of an illegal group.
The deputies said that Abu Ragheb had informed Mish'al of the government's conditions during a meeting the premier held with the Hamas leader in Qatar late last year on the fringes of the Organization of the Islamic Conference meetings, according to the paper -- Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )