The Jerusalem Post
January 29, 2013 - 12:00am
http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=301391


Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal is seeking to take over the presidency of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, currently chaired by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the London-Based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported on Monday.

According to the report, Mashaal's desire to chair the PLO is behind his decision not to stand for reelection to his position as chairman of Hamas's Political Bureau.

Al-Quds Al-Arabi quoted Palestinian sources as saying several Arab states, led by Jordan and Qatar, are pushing for Mashaal to chair the PLO as a way of getting Hamas to sign the Oslo Accords and recognize Israel.

The report added that Mashaal's meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah on Monday was part of the regional effort to spur the resumption of peace talks which would lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state within the pre-1967 lines with agreed upon land swaps. King Abdullah was seeking a commitment from Hamas to accept such an agreement.

Mashaal and other Hamas leaders were expelled from Jordan and stripped of their Jordanian citizenship more than a decade ago. But over the past 18 months, Jordan has moved toward restoring its relations with Hamas, allowing Mashaal and some of his top aides to visit the kingdom on at least three occasions.

The rapprochement between Jordan and Hamas came after the Islamist movement pledged to refrain from meddling in the kingdom’s internal affairs.

Hamas has also reassured Amman that it does not support calls to replace Jordan with a Palestinian state.

Following Monday’s meeting, Mashaal reiterated Hamas’s opposition to the idea of creating a Palestinian state in Jordan. He also expressed opposition to talk about a confederation between the Palestinians and Jordan, saying such an idea should be discussed only after the establishment of a Palestinian state.

The meeting between the two leaders comes after a recent conflict in words between Abdullah and Hamas last week.

On Friday the Jordanian king gave a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, during which he said that Hamas appeared to be ready to soften their position and live peacefully next to Israel, according to a report on the Albawaba website. Abdullah also stated that Hamas was becoming “a bit more realistic” and was open to dialogue with Israel.

The Albawaba report stated that “Jordan’s monarch was soon made to eat his words when Hamas shot down his hopeful claims point blank,” as Hamas spokesman Yahya Moussa al-Ebadsh stated on the website, Palestine Today, that its relationship with Israel would not change.

“The only relationship with this enemy is the resistance,” he said.




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