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April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Khaled Mashaal’

Iran Resumes Financial Assistance to Hamas

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Facing increasing pressure from Egypt and deteriorating economic conditions in Gaza, Hamas has been flirting with the notion of re-entering the Iranian camp.

Now, Al-Monitor is reporting that Iranian monetary aid has officially resumed to Hamas, but at a lower level than what was provided before ties between the two broke. The report also cited a source close to Hamas’ political leadership who says Iran is planning to receive Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal. Qatar was mediating discussions between Iran and Hamas in an effort to restore ties, after a two-year hiatus.

Syria’s civil war led to the split. Iran, trying to protect its Shiite axis, backed dictator Bashar al-Assad and ordered its Lebanese terror proxy Hizbollah to help shore up the regime. Hamas, a Sunni movement, allied with anti-Assad rebels.

Iranian Shura Council head Ali Larijani announced the resumption of relations between the two sides on March 10. Larijani stated that “Iran is supporting Hamas on the grounds that it is a resistance movement. … Our relationship with [Hamas] is good and has returned to what it was. We have no problems with [Hamas].” It is clear that their differences in Syria do not trump Hamas and Iran’s shared desire to facilitate Israel’s destruction.

The Israeli Navy recently intercepted an Iranian ship earlier this month that carrying advanced weaponry for the Gaza strip. Even though Palestinian Islamic Jihad was the likely recipient of most of the payload, Israel officials believe some of the arms were meant for Hamas as well. Military-ruled Egypt is increasingly isolating Hamas and engaging in a concerted campaign to destroy the terrorist organization’s smuggling tunnels. This new report showing renewed financial assistance demonstrates that Hamas is on its way to fully restoring ties with its Iranian patron.

Originally published at The Investigative Project on Terrorism.  /  Steve Emerson

Report: Hamas Prepared to Join Fatah to Hold Elections

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

The Hamas terrorist organization has told Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas it is ready to agree to national unity government in preparation for local and parliamentary elections.

The Jewish Press reported here on Monday that Hamas supreme leader Khaled Mashaal recently spoke with Abbas by phone and suggested the time has come to implement the unity plan that they agreed on in principle more than two years ago.

Sources told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency that Mashaal called a second time and that both leaders agreed to form a unity government that would last for at least six months.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has ignored the division between Hamas and Fatah, but his ideas for a future Palestinian Authority state have little relevance without Gaza being included. On the other hand, Hamas’ open opposition to the State of Israel would force Kerry to accept Hamas’ ideology or ditch his project.

Hamas’ Supreme Leader Mashaal Warms Up to Abbas

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Khaled Mashaal, the supreme leader of Hamas who lives in Qatar,  spent 10 minutes on the phone with Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas in what the official PA news agency WAFA said was a “warm” conversation.

Mashaal fled to Qatar from Syria, where he had been living in exile from Jordan until the Syrian civil war came between him and Syrian President Bassar al-Assad.

“Mashaal telephoned president Abbas to thank him for his efforts at different levels, particularly sending aid to the Gaza Strip,” WAFA reported, referring to the support sent by the PA to Gaza as it recovers following the major winter storm in recent days.

However, the most immediate and influential help came from Qatar, which donated diesel fuel, and Israel, which shipped it to Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing.

The Fatah terrorist movement, headed by Abbas, and Hamas said more than two years ago they would patch up their differences and establish a unity government, but no actions have been  taken to confirm the announcement.

With the “peace process” considered dead by virtually all parties except  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, the phone call gave Abbas the opportunity to promise Mashaal that  the “sacred and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people” are a state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, Palestinian refugees’ rights and the release of all Palestinian prisoners.”

Hamas Official says Abbas May Visit Gaza with Erdogan

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, whom the Obama administration has praised for not publicly avowing violence like Hamas, may visit Gaza with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency.

“I believe if Erdogan comes to Gaza, he may accompany president Abu Mazen,” Ahmed Yousef, former senior political adviser to de facto Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, told the news agency hours after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu apologized to Erdogan for the clash on the high seas in May 2010.

Prime Minister Netanyahu communicated to Erdogan “an apology to the Turkish people for a mistake that could lead to loss of human life.,” referring to the clash on the Mavi Mamara ship that was manned by Turkish terrorists who falsely claimed they were trying to take humanitarian aid to Gaza, where a maritime blockade is in force against terrorists.

After the clash, in which IDF commandos were brutally attacked before they overcame the terrorists, the ship was brought to Ashdod, where no humanitarian aid was found on board.

Hamas said on Friday that Erdogan told its leader supreme Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal that Israel had promised to lift the maritime blockade and the alleged “siege” on Gaza. Israel has opened up land crossing to almost all goods and merchandise except for those directly involved in terror, such as explosives.

Erdogan has stated several times in the past year he would visit Gaza, and doing so now, after Netanyahu’s apology, would be considered a swift kick in the butt in return for Israel’s exercise in appeasing Turkish anger over the deaths of nine of the terrorists in the flotilla clash.

If Abbas were to visit, it would also be a kick in pants of the Obama administration. President Barack Obama showered Abbas with praise during his visit to Ramallah last Thursday, taking pains to try to prove that Abbas, as opposed to Hamas, is a true “partner” for peace with Israel.

Jordan and the ‘Arab Spring’

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Jordan’s ‘Arab Spring’ protests started as a peaceful small-scale demonstration against corruption in the town of Theeban in January 2011. Since then the protests have spread out to the outlying governorates, along with the rise of so-called popular movements. However, the unrest never reached the magnitude of the uprisings in countries such as Yemen, Egypt and Libya.

As in other Arab countries, protests in Jordan were being led by the Islamist movement, which dominates the political opposition, as well as by the popular protest movement which includes numerous pro-reform organizations.

Protests

The Jordanians mainly protested against corruption and favoritism.

Demonstrators called for investigations into regime corruption at almost all the protests.

Later the protests were directed against the worsening economic situation in the country. The deterioration of the economic situation is alarming as it could lead to a full-blown revolution as happened earlier in Tunis and Egypt.

Jordanian demonstrators demanded reform and change in general in a peaceful way. Lately however, some protests have turned violent. Last week dozens of people were injured during clashes between Salafists and pro-government demonstrators in the city of Zarqa.

Compared to the protests in other countries across the region, those in Jordan have been relatively sparse. This situation can be explained by a lack of organizational skills among the few political parties and an effective security system. In addition, from the outset, the protests’ consensus was that political and economic reform – not regime change – were the solution.

Palestinians

The fact that the Palestinians, who make up almost two thirds of the population, have not joined the protests may explain why there hasn’t been a full-blown revolution in Jordan.

However, the Palestinian Arabs in Jordan have good reasons to be angry at King Abdullah and his government. Although the majority of Jordan’s population is Palestinian, they have been discriminated against for decades.

This is something which King Abdullah in fact admitted when, back in 1999, he called upon his Jordanian (non-Palestinian) subjects to “end class divisions that have marginalized Palestinian citizens of the Hashemite Kingdom.”  He also said at the time that “discrimination must end.”

This discrimination includes the refusal of the Jordanian Government to let Palestinians actively take part in the governing of the country. For example, the Palestinian majority in Jordan holds only 6 seats in a 120 member Parliament, while in Israel the 20 % Arab minority holds 14 out of 120 seats in the Israeli Parliament.

In addition the UN Higher Commission for Refugees confirms that Jordan’s government still treats the majority of its Palestinian citizens as refugees. Human Rights Watch reported in 2010 that King Abdullah’s government has  been randomly cancelling passports of numerous Palestinians throughout Jordan, thereby destroying livelihoods and breaking up families.

Recently Jordan even revoked citizenship of PLO and PA officials. At the same time, a new electoral law sought to limit Palestinian representation in the Jordanian parliament even further.

Instead of taking responsibility for his government’s discriminatory actions, King Abdullah has  accused Israel of being an ‘apartheid’ state. He made this accusation in an interview with the Washington Post about the failed peace negotiations between Israel and the PA which were conducted in Amman. The king said that “Israel will have to choose between democracy and apartheid”.

Reforms

From the outset of the revolts in other Arab countries it was clear that King Abdullah was very concerned that a similar revolt could threaten his regime. He was therefore quick to announce reforms.

He has also been trying to divert the attention towards Israel by blaming the Jewish state for the shortcomings and failures of the Jordanian government, just like other Arab leaders have been doing for years.

Abdullah also tries to hide his opposition to the Syrian regime because he fears Assad’s repercussions and because the Jordanian economy largely depends on Syria.

The majority of Jordanian-produced goods are imported by Syria and Syria also serves as Jordan’s gateway to Lebanon, Turkey, and Eastern Europe. If the trade relations between both countries were to come to an end, the already weak Jordanian economy would receive a massive blow, which in turn could spark more protests and demands to topple the King and the Jordanian government.

One of the reform measures which Abdullah implemented included firing the government and replacing it with a new one. Similar actions were undertaken by Saudi Arabia, which uses its oil wealth to keep its citizens quiet.

However, the reform measures were not enough to satisfy the protesters and they demanded more extensive changes. Their demands included serious efforts to fight the regime’s corruption, a demand for an elected prime minister (instead of a prime minister appointed by the king), abolition of the senate (also appointed by the king) – or its transformation into a body elected by the people, and a demand to pass a new elections law.

In short, the protest and reform movement demands a decrease in the king’s powers and more influence and freedom of action for the parliament.

Aggressive

The protests continued, becoming more aggressive over time. Some protestors even publicly demanded that King Abdullah step down (there is a law in Jordan which forbids direct criticism of the Royal Family).

The tone of the demonstrations changed when the protesters saw that their situation was not really changing for the good.

Demonstrators started to display signs with slogans such as “there can be no reform under the current security grip” and “the people want freedom, justice and an end to corruption.” More recently various opposition members and groups have been accusing the King of being an “occupier”. They also accused Queen Rania of ruling the country instead of her husband.

In response to the radicalization of the protests, the regime has taken several measures to satisfy the Islamic movement and Bedouin tribes in Jordan. This included attempts to buy them off with money and positions of power.

The regime started to show flexibility on several issues which were previously considered sacred. For example, the king now said that he would be willing to curtail his own powers and that there might be talks about a constitutional monarchy.

Islamists

The regime also tried to pacify the Islamists by starting a dialogue. This move came after it became clear that the Islamic parties were the driving force behind the protests which are taking place in cities all over Jordan almost every Friday.

In addition, the regime capitulated to the demand of the Islamic movement to free prisoners, including the release of 150 Salafi-Jihadist prisoners who were imprisoned for attacking security officers with swords during a rally in the city of Al-Zarqa which took place in April 2011.

Furthermore, the regime also announced that it would renew its contacts with Hamas. The relations between Jordan and Hamas were suspended in 1999 because of Hamas’s terrorist activities. Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal was subsequently expelled from Jordan, after which he moved to Damascus. In 2006 Jordan blacklisted the organization after an alleged weapons cache was discovered in the country.

Now the regime is trying to patch up things with Hamas, in order to satisfy the Islamists in Jordan.

Khaled Mashaal visited Jordan at the end of January 2012, allegedly to find a new home for Hamas’s headquarters which until then had been located in Damascus.

The US government however, immediately made clear that it would not tolerate the establishment of Hamas’s headquarters on Jordanian soil and warned that there would be serious repercussions if the regime did not prevent this from happening.

Shortly afterwards the Jordanian regime hurried to make it clear that Mashaal’s visit had no “political implications and does not signal a change in Jordan’s political agenda.”

Israel

In Israel pundits are worried that the Jordanian regime will not be able to hold off the Islamists in the long run. New concessions to keep the Islamists at bay will probably be necessary but could further destabilize the region.

These concessions will no doubt include a review of the relations with Israel. Already at this moment it is apparent that Israeli-Jordanian relations are deteriorating.

The (failed) Global March to liberate al Quds/Jerusalem (an anti-Israel manifestation that took place at the end of March) was, for instance, prepared at a conference in Amman last January.

In the same month Jordanian MP’s called for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador. Recently a spokesman for the Jordanian government called Israeli actions against the continuing rocket fire from Gaza “barbaric aggression.” In the beginning of April, Jordanian state TV broadcasted an inciting sermon by imam Khaleb Rabab’a. He told worshippers that “Jordan’s army will destroy Israel and will regain Jerusalem from the killers of prophets.”

Mashaal On Official Hamas Visit to Jordan

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

King Abdullah of Jordan met with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal on the Hamas chief’s first official visit to Jordan since he was expelled in 1999.

The visit is seen as an attempt to engage increasingly influential Islamists in the Arab world. Still, an AP report quoted a Jordanian official  as saying that Jordan will not allow Hamas to reopen a branch in Jordan.

Report: Hamas Chief Plans Gaza Visit, May Run for PLO President

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Hamas terror chief Khaled Mashaal is reportedly planning to visit Gaza with PA president Mahmoud Abbas, amid speculation that he will step down from his position to run for president of the PLO executive.

Al-Hayat newspaper reported on Monday that Mashaal wanted to visit Gaza to prove that the tentative reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah was serious.

Hamas Terror Chief to ‘Resign’

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Hamas terror chief Khaled Mashaal will resign from his post, and an election to determine the groups new ‘political’ leader will take place “in the next few months,” a senior member of Hamas said Tuesday.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/hamas-terror-chief-to-resign/2012/01/19/

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