AMMAN — Hamas leader Khaled Mishaal left Amman on Tuesday following a “low-key” visit, which, according to sources, did not open the door to any potential return of the Palestinian resistance movement to Jordan.
There were positive signals from a meeting between the Hamas delegation and His Majesty King Abdullah. But it fell short of a “breakthrough” in relations following a long-anticipated visit by Mishaal to the Kingdom, which in 1999 expelled the Hamas leadership from Amman.
According to a source within Hamas, among the potential issues that were to be on the meeting’s agenda, the one that garnered the most interest in the local and international press — the potential return of the resistance movement to Jordan — was not even discussed.
“The return of Hamas leadership to Jordan, or the opening of a political office in Jordan was not brought up in the discussions,” said the source in a telephone interview yesterday.
Discussions between the delegation and His Majesty, which were brokered through the diplomacy of Qatari Crown Prince Sheikh Tamim Ben Hamad Al Thani, centred instead on regional issues, namely the reconciliation between Fateh and Hamas, the peace process and the ongoing crisis in Syria.
Despite the “positive atmosphere” surrounding the visit, the meeting failed to live up to the expectations of some delegation members that expected the visit to lead to a “complete turnaround” in relations, the source said.
“The meeting was a positive, important step forward but it was not the leap some were expecting,” the source said from Gaza, declining to elaborate further.
During the three-day visit, the Hamas delegation declined to partake in any political events or official activities in Jordan, with no public appearances apart from participation in the mourning tent of Bahjat Abu Gharbiah, a ban that the Palestinian movement claims came under direct orders from Jordanian authorities.
“There was an agreement on both sides that the meeting with King Abdullah was the main purpose of the visit, and there was no need for any other functions,” the source added.
Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications Rakan Majali, who first announced the official visit late last year, could not be reached for comment.