Jordan’s king boycotts Abbas. Moscow: Hamas must recognize Israel
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has run into blank walls in his ploy for using a unity pact between his Fatah and the extremist Hamas as the fulcrum for a diplomatic offensive against Israel to climax in UN recognition of a Palestinian state in September. This is reported by debkafile's exclusive Middle East sources.
Since his unity pact with Hamas was signed on May 4 Jordan's King Abdullah has refused to receive him or any of his messengers. Sunday, May 22, when Abbas asked for an urgent interview, the king told his office to stop transferring any more of these requests.
The king accuses the Palestinian leader of betraying his commitment under a secret agreement to give Abdullah advance notice and consult with him on any moves for reconciliation with Hamas. By keeping the king in the dark, Abbas is held guilty of jeopardizing Jordan's national security.
The Muslim Brotherhood and its Hamas offshoot are the most powerful force opposing the throne in the Hashemite Kingdom. Enhancing Hamas' hand in the Palestinian stakes has major ramifications for Jordan's domestic political equilibrium.
Abdullah's boycott of the Palestinian leader covers the cutoff of Jordanian intelligence ties with Palestinian counterparts.
Abbas had been counting on meeting the king in Amman Sunday to receive a briefing on his talks with US President Barack Obama at the White House on May 18, the day before Obama unveiled his Middle East policy. Abdullah not only denied him that interview but asked US officials not to share the content of his conversation with Obama with any Palestinian. Abbas thus lost a vital source of information on US administration plans.
Abbas went to Amman Sunday nonetheless. He was fobbed off with Jordanian Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit, whose brief is limited to domestic affairs, while the king takes personal charge of strategic, security and external policies. From Bakhit, Abbas heard the complaint that while everyone harps on the Palestinian refugees "right of return," no one talks about its applications to Jordan; neither have any mechanisms been put in place for its execution. He asked Abbas for answers on the mechanism and the criteria he envisages for relieving the Kingdom of Jordan of its burden of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees.
debkafile's Middle East sources disclose that the rift between the Jordanian monarch and Abbas is also blocking Palestinian channels to the Saudi royal house. One reason for Jordan's Abdullah eagerly snatching up the invitation to join the GCC was his estrangement from Abbas. A condition for his joining the Gulf emirates grouping was a commitment to refer all Palestinian issues on the emirates' tables to Jordan, which would concentrate the handling of those issues in Amman.
Saudi King Abdullah accepted this condition.
After being outmaneuvered in the Arab arena, the Palestinian leader's plans to internationalize the Palestinian-Israel dispute and confront Israel with a Palestinian state with 1967 borders ran into another impediment – in Moscow.
In a bid to outmaneuver Washington's role as sponsor of the peace process, Abbas turned to Russia in deference to its veto power at the UN Security Council. He offered to transfer negotiations on the next phase of Fatah-Hamas reconciliation to Moscow.
Abbas duly arrived in the Russian capital Friday, May 20, for the first session along with delegations from Hamas, the Democratic and Popular "Fronts" and the Palestinian al-Shaab communist party.
But to his dismay, the Russians stalled the opening session, debkafile's Moscow sources reveal, demanding that all the Palestinian factions represented must first accept the three standing stipulations of the Middle East Quartet (US, Russia, EU and the UN), namely recognize Israel, abjure violence and accept previous international commitments. Hamas stood by its adamant refusal to accept any of those conditions.
And so the Palestinian leader was confronted with exactly the same impediment in Moscow as the one placed in his path by President Barack Obama on May 22, when he assured the American-Israel lobby's conference that his administration stood by the demand for all Palestinian negotiating partners to abide by those same conditions. Hamas was thus cut out of the diplomatic equation on three fronts along with its new partner, Mahmoud Abbas.
Monday, May 23, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arranged to meet the visiting Palestinian delegations to discuss the deadlock.