Hussein confirms: I sent a Hamas offer to Netanyahu
Jordan, Politics, 10/9/1997
King Hussein of Jordan Wednesday confirmed that he sent a message to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offering to mediate between Israel and Hamas and presenting Hamas's offer for a cease fire with Israel but has not received any answer. In a meeting with a number of Jordanian notables, the king said Jordan had no legal evidence that would incriminate the two Israeli Mossad agents who tried to assassinate Hamas political department head Khaled Mishal in Amman. Legal experts said that it would be difficult for a court of law to prove that the two were the ones who attacked Mishal since they were arrested some almost two miles away from the site of the attack.
The king said he stated in his letter to Netanyahu that he was ready to mediate between the two sides "in order to put an end to the cycle of horror and violence in the region." Observers in Amman believe the Jordanian stand after the assassination attempt and the way that King Hussein reacted to the failed Mossad operation helped bring Netanyahu and Palestine National Authority President Yasser Arafat together.
"What US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and US Special Envoy to the Middle East Dennis Ross had failed in the past to achieve has later become possible because of King Hussein and the release of Sheikh Ahmad Yassin," one observer said. He noted that the King has apparently played a major role in convincing Sheikh Yassin to come out with a set of moderate statements that do not condone suicide bombing attacks on Israelis and leave room for political action to take place. Since his return to Gaza last Monday, Sheikh Yassin has reiterated on a number of occasions Hamas' readiness for a cease-fire with Israel provided the latter stop its measures against the Palestinian people, including the lifting of the closure and the cessation of the settlement policy.
King Hussein, sources in Amman said, was very angry that instead of receiving an answer back from Netanyahu on the offer to mediate between Israel and Hamas, the Mossad carried out the assassination attempt. It looked as if Israel intentionally did not want to listen to the king and decided to act in a way that would eventually endanger the national security of Jordan, the sources said. In Israel, it was finally confirmed that the Mossad had in fact received the Jordanian monarch's offer two days before the assassination attempt but did not pass it on to Netanyahu. Mossad head Danny Yatom, whose head is likely to roll by the end of the current investigation into the affair, claimed the message he received from King Hussein was "neither serious nor practical." Yatom will have to explain why didn't he pass on the message to Netanyahu and why he decided to go ahead with the plan to assassinate Mishal though a cease-fire offer was underway.
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