The visit of a Hamas delegation to Jordan, which included the group’s leader Khaled Meshaal, reflects a serious Jordanian desire to rekindle cooperation with the organization in light of the recent events and revolutions that are sweeping across the Arab world. The delegation met with his highness King Abdullah II to discuss Palestinian developments and changes in the current Arab scene.
Discussions were held in an atmosphere of confidence and optimism, which was a result of the desire to strengthen their cooperation. Hamas leaders could possibly stay in Jordan, in light of the events in Syria and in support of the Palestinian reconciliation efforts that are being made by Jordan’s government upon the directives of his majesty. Great progress has been made toward cooperation and understanding to form a Palestinian Authority (PA), headed by President Mahmoud Abbas. The goal is to end the Palestinian division in order to confront the Israeli occupation.
The Hamas-led Jordanian-Palestinian talks were positive and constructive, as some of the Hamas leaders told me July 1, stressing Jordan's support of the Palestinian cause by all means in order to find a permanent solution, establish a state and designate Jerusalem as its capital. They also emphasized the importance of reconciliation between the Palestinian factions in the current phase.
The meetings were a significant and wise step toward ending the painful situation and the ongoing domestic fragmentation between the Palestinians. In fact, such conditions make it easier for Israel to continue its bombings, its siege on Gaza, its campaign of settlements in the West Bank, the Judaization and obliteration of Palestinian civilization in Jerusalem and other interference in the Palestinian cause.
Moreover, the Jordanian-Hamas meetings coincided with the Jordanian government’s bid to reduce injustice by offering greater support for the Palestinians.
The government of ousted president Hosni Mubarak had been procrastinating and aborting any agreement to support such an understanding with the Palestinians because Egypt's former foreign minister, Ahmed Abul Gheit, was following US directions as dictated by Israel. Thus, he kept refusing any Palestinian agreement while preserving the blockade on the Gaza Strip. He abstained from reaching a fair mediation between Hamas and the other Palestinian factions as a result of a US and Israeli desire to sustain these divisions,. Thus far, these divisions have lasted for over five and a half years.
The fact is, Netanyahu rejects any agreement between Fatah and Hamas. Whenever there is a chance to sign a Palestinian agreement, he declares that the PA has to choose between Hamas or the peace process, as if Hamas and other Palestinian factions are responsible for aborting the peace process. He just pretends that Israel has nothing to do with it, ignoring its refusal of the European road map, the two-state solution, the Arab peace initiative and the cessation of settlements. The US has even offered substantial financial compensation to Israel in exchange for halting settlement construction and reaching an agreement on the issue.
Israel and the US cannot be counted on because their foreign policies do not call for a just peace in the region. The Arab states must be conscious of the danger of US pressure at this stage. They should support the Palestinian position. If there is another summit, they should confront any position that pressures the Palestinians and the PA in particular. For example, Western powers could apply pressure by threatening to cut off financial and economic aid for Palestinians if the PA moves toward greater cooperation with Hamas, which Western powers demand must first recognize Israel as a state.
Arab countries should develop the necessary strategies to support Palestinians by all means possible because the hoped-for deal between Fatah and Hamas — though many states know it won’t likely be achieved any time soon — will indeed change the balance of power and launch a successful global campaign for the declaration of a Palestinian state through the United Nations while boycotting Israel as long as it rejects bringing about a just peace.
The measures that are aimed at limiting US attempts to reach a compromise regarding the settlements issue must be followed up. The united Palestinian position came as the result of the developments and changes that are currently taking place in Arab countries such as Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Libya. PA president Mahmoud Abbas, along with other Palestinian faction leaders such as Khaled Meshaal, ought to seize this opportunity and expedite the steps toward a Palestinian reconciliation. This is important because Hamas previously stressed the need for reconciliation and for halting any actions by Hamas or the PA that clamp down on Palestinians. Hamas also called for blocking US and Israeli schemes since all Palestinians factions have welcomed the PA’s decision to completely end negotiations with Israel. They have done this to protest the continued construction of settlements.
Ismail Haniyeh, the outgoing prime minister, said that the PA’s decision reflects a sincere desire to fix the political process and to promote political action according to a national program on the basis of national and political partnership.
Khaled Meshaal and the Hamas delegation’s visit to Jordan bore fruitful talks on various current issues. This included an outline to unite the Palestinian factions — particularly Hamas and Fatah. Jordan, under the guidance of his majesty King Abdullah II, has played a prominent role in resolving the differences between the Palestinian factions, and Amman is ready to host a dialogue between Fatah and Hamas in order to end the division. Moreover, Jordan has recently hosted a delegation from Hamas and other Palestinian factions in order to address Palestinian unity. The meeting was intended to eliminate any differences that may affect the establishment of a viable independent Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital. Jordan has spared no effort, whether at the Arab or international level, to help establish the Palestinian state after a full Israeli withdrawal from all of the occupied Arab territories.
We hold out hope that the Arab states will support Jordan’s efforts to successfully end the Palestinian rift, to live up to future challenges that the Palestinian cause may face, to prepare for the Palestinian president’s visit to the Gaza Strip and to reach an agreement for the release of all prisoners. This last issue has been an obstacle for achieving any real cooperation between the various Palestinian factions. We hold out hope that the Arab states will work on lifting the ban on many associations and institutions in the West Bank and Gaza. We hope that the Arab states will join hands in a serious attempt to fulfill the Palestinian people’s aspirations and end their division. Concerted efforts must be made to unite the Palestinians, especially since US president Barack Obama has threatened to cut off aid and support for them if they address the issue of statehood in the UN Security Council. Obama believes that this would jeopardize peace and the efforts to establish an independent state.
In light of current circumstances, the visit of Hamas leaders such as Khaled Meshaal to Jordan is of great significance, and the meetings with them constitute a historical turning point a Jordanian-Palestinian cooperation.