Hamas: Jordan fabricated arms story

Hamas says Amman has wrongly accused the group of arms smuggling because it is being influenced by the US to boycott the new Palestinian government.

    Hamas says Jordan wants to join a US boycott

    The Palestinian government spokesman, Ghazi Hamed, said on Wednesday:

    "I think the Jordanians themselves know more than anybody else the total mendacity and falsehood of these charges. They know that Hamas doesn't indulge in such activities."


    Hamed also told Al Jazeera.net he hoped that some Arab states would refrain from resorting to "twisted tactics".


    "We are under a sinister Israeli military occupation. And our brotherly Arab states should not increase our burden by indulging in such cheap and stupid disinformation."


    Al-Zahar visit cancelled


    A day earlier, a Jordanian government spokesman said security forces had seized rocket launchers and other weapons from a Hamas arms cache.


    "I advise our brothers in Jordan to stop making cheap lies to justify their disgraceful subservience to Israel and the United States"

    Palestinian minister speaking on condition of anonymity

    The Islamist faction, which does not recognise Israel and took over the Palestinian government on March 29 after winning January elections, was also accused of using Jordan to engage in anti-Israeli activities.


    A visit by the new Palestinian foreign minister and senior Hamas leader, Mahmoud al-Zahar, was scrapped as a result.


    A Hamas minister said Jordan had made up the accusations to enforce a boycott against the Palestinian government. The United States and Israel are boycotting the government.


    "I advise our brothers in Jordan to stop making cheap lies to justify their disgraceful subservience to Israel and the United States," said the minister, speaking on condition of anonymity.


    Brotherhood comment


    A leader of Jordan's largest opposition party, the Muslim Brotherhood, denounced Amman's decision.


    Jamil Abu Bakr accused the kingdom of having caved in to "American and Zionist pressures on Arabs to isolate the Palestinian Hamas-led government".


    Al-Zahar himself was more conciliatory, saying: "Our relation  with Jordan does not stop [because] of cancelling or postponing a visit."


    But challenged by reporters on a visit to Saudi Arabia, he  said: "Hamas does not stash weapons in any Arab country."


    Dire straits


    Al-Zahar is touring Arab states to try to raise funds after the US and several countries, mostly Western, suspended direct aid, saying Hamas must renounce violence and recognise Israel and past interim peace deals.


    Al-Zahar is touring Arab states
    hoping to win financial aid

    Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994 and has helped mediate some negotiations with the Palestinians.


    Al-Zahar's visit to Jordan would have been the first by a Hamas leader since the nation expelled the group's leadership in 1999.


    Hamas's politburo now has its headquarters in Damascus.


    Hamas has a large following in Palestinian refugee camps across Jordan. Much of Jordan's population is of Palestinian origin.


    The Palestinian foreign minister had kicked off his tour of the region in Cairo last Friday but his counterpart, Ahmed Abul Gheit, said he was too busy for meeting.


    Egypt is the only other Arab country to have signed a peace treaty with Israel and the biggest recipient of US aid after the Jewish State.


    Arab banks' boycott


    Amman's accusations of arms smuggling came less than two weeks after the Jordan-based Arab Bank stopped all financial dealings with the Palestinian government, Palestinian banking officials said.


    "They (the US) consider Hamas a terrorist organisation, and if we deal with the movement and its government, we would be subject to an open war by the Americans"

    Palestinian banking official

    A banking official in the West Bank told Al Jazeera.net that the Arab Bank was afraid of possible US retributions.


    "They [the US] consider Hamas a terrorist organisation, and if we deal with the movement and its government, we would be subject to an open war by the Americans.


    "They would hold us responsible for every single Israeli casualty for the past 20 years," he said, asking to remain anonymous.


    "We are not ready for this disaster on behalf of the Arab world."


    Branches of the bank operating in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have been instructed to forbid their clients from making inter-branch transactions except when the beneficiary is a first-degree relative of the depositor.


    The measures angered the Palestinian government, with one official at the ministry of finance saying: "We didn't know that our banks are also controlled by the United States."


    The Israeli English-language daily newspaper Haaretz reported earlier this month that Arab-owned banks holding Palestinian Authority accounts had begun trying to persuade the PA to withdraw its money.


    It said the measure had apparently come out of fear that the US and Western European countries will impose sanctions against them for holding terrorist funds.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera


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