The Deputy Head of the Political Bureau of Hamas has said that the movement is holding discussions with Jordan about future relations between the two. Mousa Abu Marzouq added that meetings of joint committees are being held with the Jordanian authorities to look at issues of mutual interest.
Abu Marzouq said that he hopes that the Islamic Resistance Movement's relations with the Hashemite Kingdom will return to their pre-1999 status. "There is nothing to prevent that," he told Al-Ghad newspaper during a visit to Amman. "However, it is slow; we are at the stage of drawing up a blueprint for future relations which will be acceptable to both sides."
When asked about the split between Hamas and Amman, Mr Abu-Marzouq replied that there was no need for the 1999 incident, when some members of the movement were detained and then expelled from the kingdom despite protesting their innocence: "There was a kind of unjustified hostility then."
Speaking about the current Palestinian dilemma, he revealed that Palestinian Authority President Abbas asked the Egyptian leadership to close the tunnels between Egypt and Gaza claiming that they reinforced the Palestinian division. "Mahmoud Abbas was also the main reason behind the closure of the Rafah Crossing as he asked the Egyptians to do that," Abu Marzouq pointed out.
"The PA ignored the fact that the tunnels saved the Gaza Strip from the siege and hunger," he insisted. "It has been demanding the tunnels' closure since Mubarak's time under the pretext of illegal commerce and smuggling."
Abu Marzouq accused the PA of Mahmoud Abbas of inciting government employees in Gaza to leave their posts. "Ramallah is seeking the collapse of the administration in the Gaza Strip in order to regain control there by undemocratic means," he claimed. "Many officials have confirmed to Hamas that the PA is responsible for the closure of the Rafah Crossing; it wants the Palestinians to continue sinking in their problems."
On national reconciliation, the Hamas chief said that it has been "postponed" indefinitely, suggesting that it could take another "six or seven years" before it comes to fruition. "Because it wants to see national unity, Hamas agreed that Abbas can head the interim reconciliation government, but that government will not see the light of day due to all of the PA's excuses."
The Islamic movement's position on Syria has not changed, according to Abu Marzouq, even though the group is no longer based in Damascus. "The only change is that the Syrian population has rebelled against the regime and started a revolution." He confirmed that there are still Hamas members living in Syria.
Accusing Israel of being behind the recent attack on Egyptian soldiers in Sinai, Abu Marzouq said that the former of Fatah Central Committee member Mohammed Dahlan might be involved with other Fatah members. "There is no room for any Palestinians, whatever their attitudes are, to take part or think of such a criminal action," he said. "The perpetrators, most probably the Israelis, hope to spoil Palestinian-Egyptian relations, notably the positive steps taken post-Mubarak with regards to the besieged Gaza Strip."
In the past, Hamas and Palestinians have been accused of dozens of similar incidents to provide an excuse for collective punishment, although the truth usually comes out and the real perpetrators become known. He confirmed his belief that closure of the Rafah crossing and stopping Palestinians from entering airports is a form of collective punishment.
Abu Marzouq denied that Hamas is trying to establish a Palestinian state in Gaza: "This might be an Israeli desire, but no Palestinian would think of it." It raises concerns in Cairo, he pointed out, because it is similar to an old proposal to attach the West Bank to Jordan and the Gaza Strip to Egypt.