debkafile Exclusive: Israel-Jordan tensions flare over discovery of king’s covert support for hard-line Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal

Israeli officials and army chiefs were taken aback by an intelligence report summing up two years of research, which exposed Jordan’s King Abdullah, Israel’s partner in peace and the war on terror, as being secretly in league with the Damascus-based radical Khaled Meshaal.
A high-placed Israeli source commented: “All these years Israel was guided by the knowledge that Meshaal was sponsored by Damascus and more recently Tehran. We now learn the entire Hamas leadership also enjoyed the patronage of the Hashemite court in Amman. It has been a real shock.”
It also catches Israel in a diplomatic crisis with both its Arab peace partners a week before the Arab summit in Riyadh. Cairo claims Israel’s responsibility for hundreds of Egyptian troop deaths was exposed in an Israeli TV documentary.
The Jordanian-Hamas connection came to light during Israel’s information-gathering on the stages leading up to the formation of the Palestinian Fatah-Hamas government. The rancor spilled out into acerbic exchanges between Jerusalem and Amman.
March 16, prime minister Ehud Olmert said a precipitate US withdrawal from Iraq would jeopardize or even bring down the regime in Amman. The king riposted that Olmert would do better to deal with his own shaky government than with Jordanian affairs.
On March 20, parliament in Amman condemned Olmert’s words, maintaining, “The Hashemite regime in Jordan, which has not been at any time a fragile country or lacked the attributes of a state, will remain a strong homeland, unaffected by skepticism of developments in the region.”
The dispute casts a long shadow on Israel-Jordanian collaboration in the war on Islamist terror, debkafile‘s counter-terror reports. US president’s security coordinator Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton, joined by the British and Canadians, is organizing a Jordanian-Palestinian military force to prop up Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah in relation to Hamas.
Tuesday, March 20, the American general reported to Congress in Washington that Hamas commands a well-trained army which is bigger and better equipped by Iran than Abbas’ security forces.
This was the first time an American military officer has made such an assessment of relative Fatah-Hamas strength.
The compilers of the Israeli intelligence report question the consistency of Jordan on the one hand contributing to a military force supposed to bolster Palestinian moderates while at the same time backing Hamas. They also ask, according to debkafile‘s sources, if Jordan can be relied on to select non-Hamas members for the Palestinian unit designed to offset Hamas’ military strength. Were Hamas infiltrators weeded out? And can Jordanian officials be trusted not to leak the force’s secrets to Hamas?
The ties between the royal house and Hamas, according to Israeli intelligence researchers, have always been managed by Muslim Brotherhood leaders close to the throne.

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