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Hamas, Jordan and the Arab Initiative - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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I watched the confessions of three individuals whom Jordan had accused of being a cell after its security authorities had caught them preparing a terrorist attack. The Jordanian authorities had also stated that these three were members of the Hamas movement, which is considered a responsible government.

Hamas denied this claim, asserting that the Jordanian authority had fabricated this case, had faked these confessions and created a hostile environment. However, the case may be a source of central debate for years to come, driving us away from the fundamental issue of the liberation of the occupied territories.

I doubt that Jordan had actually fabricated such a story, as some officials of Hamas have stated, due to the postponing of Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Al Zahar’s visit. A number of official visits are cancelled or delayed by a simple telephone call without claims of conspiracies, without arresting innocent people or fabricating confessions. The postponement of a visit cannot be an excuse for fabricating a fictional and dramatic story such as that about the Palestinian cell. However, on the other hand, this does not mean that Hamas planned for or implemented this plot, as we must not forget that the area is filled with those who seek to attack.

There have been many explanations for what happened in Jordan. Hamas could have been the perpetrator of such a plot, or members of Hamas abroad could have carried out this conspiracy without any involvement from Palestinian leaders of Hamas. Another option is that Iran could have been behind this plot aiming to send clear messages to the United States concerning their continuous debate on uranium enrichment activities in Iran.

Whoever was responsible, the case could be solved in a matter of one session, especially that the cell was arrested before carrying out any bombings and without causing any bloodshed. Both Hamas and Jordan have enough problems and dilemmas that they must deal with. The most important issue for Hamas should be the future of the occupied territories, refugees and the Palestinian state, of which they are presently the leading government.

All parties are experiencing increasing anxiety, not only Jordan, due to Hamas’ hesitance in fulfilling its duty towards treaties previously endorsed by former Palestinian governments. The state that Hamas has inherited has cost the Palestinians the lives of thousand of children over the years and here we see Hamas taking small steps towards the same positions since it recently stated that it recognizes the pre-1967 state of Israel. Then, it surprisingly shunned the Arab initiative, why? Simply because Israel rejected it too. Stipulating the endorsement of the initiative on the reciprocal acceptance of Israel to such an initiative is a flimsy excuse and it saves the Israelis from the embarrassment that the project created because of its international popularity, the creation of an individual sovereign country on the same lands, borders and capital that Hamas accepts, in addition to giving refugees the right to return for recognizing Israel.

If Hamas has a better initiative to offer, which could gain the support of the international community and Arabs, and more importantly could be feasible, then it should declare it rather than merely make use of its verbal projects that are suitable only for the political speeches in the media and not for the establishment of the Palestinian state.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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