US embassy cable - 96AMMAN2094

WHAT HAMAS IS -- AND ISN'T -- IN JORDAN

Identifier: 96AMMAN2094
Wikileaks: View 96AMMAN2094 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Amman
Created: 1996-03-06 16:41:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PTER PREL PGOV PINS KPAL KISL JO IS
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
O 061641Z MAR 96
FM AMEMBASSY AMMAN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5665
INFO AMEMBASSY PARIS 
AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS 
AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 
AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 
AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 
AMEMBASSY ROME 
AMEMBASSY RABAT 
AMEMBASSY CAIRO 
AMEMBASSY LONDON 
AMEMBASSY TUNIS 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 AMMAN 002094 
 
 
STATE FOR NEA, S/CT 
LONDON FOR TUELLER, PARIS FOR ALLEGRONE 
 
E.O. 12958:  DECL:  3/6/01 
TAGS: PTER, PREL, PGOV, PINS, KPAL, KISL, JO, IS 
SUBJECT:  WHAT HAMAS IS -- AND ISN'T -- IN JORDAN 
 
REF: A) AMMAN 1993; B) 95 AMMAN 4285 (NOTAL) 
 
1. (U)  CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE ROBERT BEECROFT; REASON 1.5 (D). 
 
2. (C)  THERE IS NO/NO EVIDENCE TO LINK EITHER HAMAS 
SPOKESPERSONS IBRAHIM GHAWSHAH OR MUHAMMAD NAZZAL TO OPERATIONS 
CONDUCTED IN ISRAEL AND THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES BY HAMAS' 
MILITARY WING.  EMBASSY LIKEWISE HAS NO EVIDENCE TO VALIDATE 
CONTENTIONS THAT THERE IS A CLANDESTINE LEADERSHIP GROUP 
OPERATING IN JORDAN LINKED TO TERRORIST ACTIVITIES IN JERUSALEM, 
THE TERRITORIES OR ISRAEL.  THERE REMAINS NO DECLARED HAMAS 
PRESENCE IN JORDAN BEYOND THE INFORMATION OFFICE.  WHILE HAMAS 
POLITICAL FIGURES SUCH AS MUSA ABU MARZUQ VISITED JORDAN IN THE 
PAST, USUALLY TO SEE FAMILY MEMBERS RESIDENT HERE, SUCH VISITS 
WERE STRICTLY CONTROLLED BY JORDANIAN INTELLIGENCE.  THERE IS 
SOME ANECDOTAL INFORMATION THAT HAMAS COURIERS CARRY CASH BETWEEN 
JORDAN AND THE WEST BANK AND GAZA.  JORDANIAN AUTHORITIES HAVE 
SEVERAL TIMES NOTED THE DIFFICULTY OF MONITORING THE PASSAGE OF 
SUCH FUNDS AND/OR IDENTIFYING BANK ACCOUNTS USED BY HAMAS. 
 
3. (U)  JORDANIAN OFFICIALS ARE INCENSED OVER RECENT ALLEGATIONS 
BY PA OFFICIAL NABIL SHA'TH LINKING JORDAN TO THE RECENT SPATE OF 
HAMAS BOMBINGS IN TEL AVIV AND JERUSALEM.  KING HUSSEIN, CROWN 
PRINCE HASSAN AND PRIME MINISTER ABD AL-KARIM AL-KABARITI HAVE 
ALL ISSUED STRONG STATEMENTS CONDEMNING THE BOMBING.  FURTHER, ON 
MARCH 4 THE GOJ DISPATCHED MINISTER OF INTERIOR AWAD KHLAYFAT AND 
MINISTER OF WATER SAMIR QA'WAR TO GAZA WITH A MESSAGE FROM THE 
KING TO PALESTINE AUTHORITY (PA) LEADER ARAFAT REPORTEDLY 
UNDERSCORING JORDANIAN SUPPORT FOR THE PA AND THE NEED FOR 
GREATER JORDANIAN-PALESTINIAN COORDINATION TO COUNTER THE "WAVE 
OF MILITANT VIOLENCE" THREATENING THE PEACE PROCESS. 
 
4. (C)  THE GOJ IS CLEARLY ANXIOUS TO AVOID ANOTHER WAR OF WORDS 
WITH THE PALESTINIANS OVER THIS SUBJECT.  LAST YEAR, THEN-FOREIGN 
MINISTER KABARITI REPEATEDLY DENIED ALLEGATIONS OF COLLUSION WITH 
HAMAS OR TOLERATION OF ACTIVITIES BEYOND THOSE OF ITS INFORMATION 
OFFICE (AND THEN ONLY WITHIN EXTREMELY STRICT LIMITS).  AFTER A 
DRAMATIC REMINDER TO SPOKESMAN IBRAHIM GHAWSHAH LAST APRIL OF 
WHAT THE GOJ WOULD ALLOW, THE GOJ IN MAY DEPORTED HAMAS OFFICIAL 
IMAD AL-ALAMI, AT THE TIME HEAD OF THE HAMAS OFFICE IN TEHRAN AND 
CURRENTLY HEAD OF HAMAS' OFFICE IN DAMASCUS, IN ADDITION TO 
POLITICAL OFFICE DIRECTOR ABU MARZUQ (NOW IN THE U.S. FACING 
EXTRADITION TO ISRAEL). 
 
5. (C)  AS EMBASSY EARLIER REPORTED (REF B) THE GOJ, WARY OF 
CREATING A CAUSE CELEBRE FOR THE JORDANIAN OPPOSITION AND 
CONCERNED WHETHER THE PROSECUTION OF JORDANIAN CITIZENS WOULD 
STAND UP IN COURT, OPTED TO KEEP THE INFORMATION OFFICE AND ITS 
PERSONNEL UNDER CLOSE SURVEILLANCE.  APART FROM PROVOCATIVE 
SOUND-BITES, WHICH ARE NOT NEARLY AS INFLAMMATORY AS THEY WERE 
BEFORE APRIL 1995, BOTH GHAWSHAH AND NAZZAL HAVE MAINTAINED LOW 
PROFILES.  INDEED, MFA SECRETARY GENERAL IBRAHIM NAGHAWI 
GENERALLY DOWNPLAYED THE IMPORTANCE OF THE HAMAS OFFICE IN JORDAN 
IN A CONVERSATION WITH CHARGE ON MARCH 6, THOUGH HE INDICATED 
THAT JORDANIAN AUTHORITIES CONTINUE TO WATCH BOTH MEN.  IN A 
MARCH 5 MEETING WITH THE CHARGE, ISRAELI DCM JACOB ROSEN AFFIRMED 
THAT ISRAEL FEELS SECURE IN THE FACT THAT JORDAN HAS HAMAS "FULLY 
COVERED." 
 
6. (C)  IN THE WAKE OF THE PA'S MOST RECENT ALLEGATIONS OF 
JORDANIAN COMPLICITY IN HAMAS MILITARY WING OPERATIONS, MANY 
OBSERVERS ANTICIPATE A CRACKDOWN BY THE GOJ, POSSIBLY IN RESPONSE 
TO U.S. OF ISRAELI PRESSURE.  AN INFORMED EMBASSY SOURCE TOLD 
EMBOFF THAT THE CRACKDOWN COULD INCLUDE THE POSSIBLE 
"DEPORTATION" OF PERSONS SUSPECTED OF MAINTAINING LINKS WITH 
HAMAS OPERATIVES IN THE TERRITORIES.  GOJ OFFICIALS HAVE, 
HOWEVER, PUBLICLY DISCLAIMED ANY "OPERATIONAL" CONNECTIONS 
BETWEEN HAMAS SYMPATHIZERS IN JORDAN AND MILITANTS ON THE OTHER 
SIDE OF THE JORDAN RIVER.  INTERIOR MINISTER KHLAYFAT TOLD THE 
ARABIC-LANGUAGE DAILY "AL'RA'I" THAT HAMAS MEMBERS IN JORDAN "ARE 
JORDANIANS WHO HAVE NO RELATION WITH TERRORISM OR WHATEVER IS 
HAPPENING IN ISRAEL OR THE PALESTINIAN SELF-RULE AREAS."  HE 
CHARACTERIZED "THE PEOPLE WHO MAN THE HAMAS OFFICE IN AMMAN" AS 
"JORDANIAN CITIZENS WHO ACT IN A PEACEFUL MANNER SUBJECT TO 
JORDANIAN LAWS."  SIGNIFICANTLY, THE MINISTER ADDED THAT THE GOJ 
COULD NOT "DEPORT JORDANIAN CITIZENS -- THAT'S AGAINST THE LAW." 
 
7. (C)  JORDANIAN AUTHORITIES' SENSITIVITY ABOUT BEING PORTRAYED 
AS OTHER THAN COMMITTED TO THE FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM MAY PROMPT 
THE GOJ TO HEIGHTEN ITS SURVEILLANCE OF HAMAS' OFFICE AND 
PERSONNEL IN JORDAN AND TAKE WHATEVER ACTION IS DEEMED BOTH 
APPROPRIATE AND PRUDENT.  AS IT HAS SHOWN IN THE PAST, THE GOJ 
WILL, IF NECESSARY, DISREGARD OBJECTIONS THAT MIGHT BE RAISED BY 
THE OPPOSITION.  CROWN PRINCE HASSAN, IN ANNOUNCING A HEIGHTENED 
STATE OF ALERT IN JORDAN MARCH 5, INDICATED THAT JORDAN WOULD DO 
WHATEVER IS NECESSARY TO PRESERVE PUBLIC SECURITY WITHIN ITS 
BORDERS. 
 
BEECROFT 

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