Middle East


A Worn Welcome

An attempt by the Jordanian government to restrict the activities of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) in Amman has sparked a rift within Jordan's leading Islamist movement and has raised questions about the future of Hamas's political presence in Jordan, reports the Palestinian-expatriate daily Al-Quds al-Arabi of London.

In July, Jordanian authorities asked Hamas leaders to stop issuing public statements from Jordan attacking the Arab-Israeli peace process. According to Al-Quds al-Arabi, the group's future in Jordan may be in doubt, particularly as peace negotiations move ahead between Israel, the Palestinians, and Syria.

The reports have created tension within the ranks of Jordan's influential Muslim Brotherhood. Hawkish members of the movement have threatened to resign if the Brotherhood moves to disassociate itself from Hamas and abandon its links to the group in order to appease the Jordanian government. Al-Quds al-Arabi reports that observers expect the dispute within the Brotherhood to widen as a result of the state's position toward Hamas.

So far, there are no indications of a government clamp-down on Hamas. Leaders of the group appear confident about their prospects and say they are unaware of efforts by the Jordanian authorities to silence them. Responding to questions about the reported gag order, Hamas spokesman Ibrahim Ghawshah maintained that "Hamas has not been in-formed by the Jordanian government of any measures to stop its normal activities in the informational and political sphere."

Asked about Hamas's options as the peace process moves forward, Ghawshah said that "Hamas is a broad movement and is spread in more than one place. It cannot be restricted, stopped, or paralyzed. We believe that the Arab states cannot embark on such a step because they know exactly the type of activities performed by the movement."