Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas denied on Wednesday accusations by Jordan that the movement had stored weapons on Jordanian territory.
Hamas added that it regretted Amman’s cancellation of a visit by the Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Al-Zahhar, which was scheduled for Wednesday.
Al-Zahhar arrived in Jeddah from Riyadh on Tuesday for talks with the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC)’s Secretary General, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, and the head of the Islamic Development Bank, Ahmad Mohammad Ali, on Wednesday, after securing Saudi Arabia’s agreement to pay its share of $92.4 million to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).
His visit to Jordan was planned as the third leg of a fund-raising Arab tour, after Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and would have been the first by a top Hamas leader since the kingdom expelled the group’s leadership in 1999.
Hamas’ politburo now has its headquarters in the Syrian capital, Damascus.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II, after the Palestinian election on January 25, welcomed the Hamas landslide electoral victory.
‘We should respect the choice of the Palestinians,’ the king said on March 20.
‘They elected Hamas and we will deal with them as part of the Palestinian Authority.’
However, Jordanian government spokesman, Nasser Judeh, on Tuesday claimed security forces had seized rocket launchers and other weapons from an alleged Hamas arms cache and had scrapped a visit by Al-Zahhar.
Judeh told the official Jordanian news agency Petra that, ‘rocket launchers, explosives and automatic weapons’ had been seized recently by Jordanian security forces from ‘a Hamas arms cache’ they discovered on Jordanian soil.
Jordan said the discovery was a serious breach of pledges by the Hamas-led Palestinian government not to meddle in Jordan’s internal affairs.
‘These activities contradict the positive commitments by the new Palestinian government not to use the Jordanian arena for any purposes that harm Jordan’s security or for meddling in its internal affairs,’ Judeh was quoted by the official news agency as saying.
The Jordanian government spokesman said a planned visit by Al-Zahhar was cancelled until ‘further notice in light of the latest developments and the seizure of weapons.’
The Palestinian government and Hamas denied, on Wednesday, the Jordanian accusations and regretted Amman’s cancellation of Al-Zahhar’s visit.
Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister Nasser Al-Shaer, also from Hamas, said the new Palestinian government was not involved.
‘We have no information about this incident and we are certain the brethren in Jordan will find out the Palestinians are not involved in such acts,’ Al-Shaer said.
Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, on Wednesday also said: ‘These accusations are false and completely contradict the well-known Hamas attitude that it does not intervene in the internal affairs of other countries.
‘We regret the way the Jordanian government used this allegation to justify the cancellation of the visit by Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar at the last moment.’
Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994 and has helped mediate some of its negotiations with the PNA.
• On Monday, Riyad Mansour, Permanent UN Observer for Palestine, said that the Palestinian people were celebrating a day of solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners and detainees.
Over 9,500 Palestinians were being held as political prisoners by Israel, including some 350 children and 120 women.
Demonstrations were being held on Monday throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, demanding the release of those prisoners.
In that connection, he expressed his grave concern regarding the harsh treatment and deplorable living conditions of Palestinian prisoners and detainees and called upon the occupying power to release them, in accordance with relevant provision of international humanitarian law.
The UN Security Council had a clear responsibility vis-à-vis the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, as well as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he continued.
He stressed that Monday’s open debate, given the deteriorating situation on the ground, was relevant and important.
Thanking the members of the Arab Group, the Non-Aligned Movement and the OIC for their requests to convene the meeting, he also thanked the members of the Council for demonstrating their flexibility and understanding during last week’s negotiations on a draft presidential statement on the latest violence in the region.
It was unfortunate that the Council had failed to respond appropriately to the latest dangerous developments, Mansour said.
Since his latest address to the Council, the occupying power had continued with, and intensified, its military campaign against the Palestinian people, he added.
Flagrant and grave violations of international law were being committed against the Palestinian civilian population every single day, every hour, ‘even at this very moment’.
The latest aggression and escalation of military attacks by Israel against the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, especially in the Gaza Strip, had begun on 7 April, when over the span of just three days the occupying Power had killed at least 21 Palestinians, including two children.
That latest crime against the Palestinian people had been committed with the use of military war planes, F-16s, helicopter gunships, tanks and other heavy weaponry.
Scores of innocent Palestinians bystanders had been wounded.
It had become common practice for the occupying power to carry out its open and declared illegal policy of extrajudicial executions in densely populated civilian areas.
Those attacks had come on the heels of the Israeli attacks on 5 April.
The government of Israel had continuously been trying to portray its latest military escalation simply as a response to violence emanating from the Occupied Palestinian Territory, he continued.
However, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, what the Israeli government was doing, and what it had been doing throughout its nearly 39-year-old military occupation, was clearly intended to serve its political objectives of inflicting maximum pain, suffering and loss on the Palestinian people, while it entrenched its occupation and continued with its theft and colonisation of Palestinian land, especially through its illegal settlement campaign and construction of its expansionist wall.
However, President Mahmud Abbas continued to condemn all acts of violence against civilians, including suicide bombings.
In particular, he had strongly condemned that day’s bombing in Tel Aviv, stating that such acts harmed the high national interests of the Palestinian people.
In that connection, he restated his condemnation of the loss of innocent civilian life on both sides, Palestinian and Israeli, calling on the occupying power to do the same.
Israel was committing its crimes against the Palestinian people with complete impunity and on a repeated basis, Mansour said.
That must be condemned by the international community.
Measures should be taken to halt the latest escalation of military attacks by the occupying power, as well as its illegal practices and policies against the Palestinian civilian population.
The international community needed to show more resolve in dealing with the situation, whether on the ground or in the political sphere.
Double standards concerning the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory could not be accepted, he added.
Such a double standard could be perceived in the silence of the international community as the occupying Power was indirectly permitted to kill Palestinian civilians and continue its illegal policies, while the Palestinian people were being killed and collectively punished through political and economic isolation for democratically electing their government.
Any calls on the Palestinian side would only be viewed as hypocritical, if they were not met by equal pressure on the occupying power to put an end to its harsh military measures, to end its subjugation of the Palestinian people and accept their rights to live in freedom and security, under the protection of international law.
He continued to hope that the Security Council would take the necessary measures to stop the dangerous deterioration of the situation and shoulder its responsibilities.