Hamas' leaders and Jordan
The impending visit by Hamas leader to Jordan seems to be the subject of discussions in the region. Elaph reports that the Qataris are mediating to arrange the visit. The major stumbling block is Khaled Mesha'al, who was given the choice in 1999 between retaining his leadership role in Hamas and staying in Jordan. He chose the former. The government's argument then and now is that it is inappropriate for a Jordanian national to hold a leadership position in an outside organization or government. Other issues, as I noted before, were Hamas' interference in Jordanian security and politics.
A few days ago, another Hamas leader, Mohammad Nazzal, made the astonishing statement that Hamas does not recognize the disengagement decision of 1988, by which Jordan renounced claims to the West Bank and withdrew Jordanian citizenship from residents of the WB. Samih Ma'aitah discussed this in Al Ghad a couple of days ago. Because of his Islamist tendencies, Ma'aitah (probably driven by embarrassment) tried to portray the statement as an individual mistake driven by a selfish desire to retain Jordanian citizenship without understanding the broader consequences of this position. I find this hard to swallow, and I am waiting for other Hamas leaders to explain what their position is on this statement.
Saleh Gallab, a vocal opponent of Hamas interference in Jordan, took a less generous view of this statement, saying flatly that "It is clear from Nazzal's statement that there is a [Hamas] intention to use [the Palestinian election] victory to go back to it it's old habits, to interfere in Jordanian internal affairs, and renew it's previous attempts (a generous word) to control the MB and the IAF. All of this would be a huge affront to the warm relations between two brotherly peoples, the Palestinians and the Jordanians, and an attack on the national unity of Jordan" (it sounds better in Arabic).
I find it amusing that many people are optimistic that Hamas will eventually be able to cut a deal with Israel, while it seems hesitant to recognize Jordan's sovereignty. Jordan must deal with Hamas on the basis of preservation of Jordan's national interests. If this is not possible, so be it. As Abderaouf Rawabdeh said "We will not be intimidated in our position by a threat we remember, or coercion we were aware of, or allegations that forgo justice and truth".