Jordan, Qatar Still at Odds Over Deported Hamas Leader's Return

Published June 15th, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

Jordanian authorities on Thursday blocked the attempted return to Amman of the exiled spokesman of the Palestinian Islamic movement Hamas, triggering a harsh Qatari response. 

"Airport officials were surprised today to see Ibrahim Ghoshe arrive on board a flight from Doha and told him he could not enter the country in line with an agreement previously reached with the authorities," a source told Jordan’s news agency Petra. 

Al Jazeera satellite channel quoted a Qatari Foreign Ministry official as voicing his country’s “astonishment” at Jordan’s allegations that the banished Islamist was sent back at the instructions of Qatari authorities. 

The source said the plane's pilot informed the Jordanian authorities that he had "strict instructions from the Qatari government not to return Ghoshe to Qatar." But the pilot denied the report, according to the station. 

Ghoshe flew into Amman airport on a regular Qatari airline flight from Doha on Thursday, but was denied entry and asked to leave again on the same aircraft.  

Ghoshe and three other senior Hamas officials, all Jordanian citizens, were deported to Qatar in November 1999 after being held for three months on charges of belonging to an illegal group and threatening Jordan's security.  

Jordan, which signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994, cracked down on Hamas in August 1999, closing its offices in Amman and arresting the leaders and two dozen members. The members were later released.  

Meanwhile, the head of Hamas’ politburo, Khaled Mishaal, told Al Jazeera that the group had known of Ghoshe’s plan and approved it. He also denied that the Qatari government had anything to do with the spokesman’s attempted return to to Jordan. 

Mishaal had told the Qatari paper Al Raya on Wednesday that all mediation efforts aimed at securing his and his colleagues’ return to Amman had failed, but vowed they would return “despite the Jordanian authorities’ rejection.” 

Mishaal did not specify a date for his return, but said that the chances for his colleagues Ghoshe, Moussa Abu Marzouq and Izzat Rishiq to return were stronger than his. 

The Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood slammed the government for “violating the constitution” by barring a citizen from entering his country – Albawaba.com 

© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)


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