By JOSHUA MITNICK RAMALLAH, West Bank—King Abdullah II of Jordan paid a rare visit here to join Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in his effort to reconcile with the militant Palestinian group Hamas and take defensive action against the rise of political Islam.After getting clearance from Israel, which controls the airspace over the West Bank, the Jordanian monarch flew the short distance by helicopter, landing late Monday morning at Mr. Abbas’s headquarters in Ramallah for the first time in more than a decade.The two U.S.-allied leaders are faced with a defunct peace process with Israel and expectations of a strong showing for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egyptian elections scheduled to begin next week, following the recent election success of Tunisia’s Islamists. Mr. Abbas, meanwhile, has lost some political traction after his bid to get the United Nations to recognize a Palestinian state stalled this month.Those events have compelled King Abdullah and Mr. Abbas to reconcile with Hamas, said Palestinian officials and analysts, in hopes of gaining broader political support and containing the group, which is the Palestinian affiliate of the Brotherhood.”Growing success for the Brotherhood will isolate the secular movements in the region—including Jordan and Palestine,” said Imad Musleh, a political columnist for the al Quds newspaper in Jerusalem. “That is why these two men are sitting together today.”U.S.-allied Arab countries such as Jordan and Egypt have largely shunned Hamas. Jordan expelled Hamas officials in 1999, and later initiated a crackdown against the group.
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The Hamas charter states that it is ” is one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine” and an early media report indicated that shortly after Hamas took over the Gaza strip, Muslim Brotherhood representatives were present to review Hamas military formations. In 2007, a Hamas journalist acknowledged the role that the “international Muslim Brotherhood” has played in providing funds for the purchase of weapons and in 2008, an Israeli TV station reported that Muslim Brotherhood “representatives” had traveled to Gaza from Egypt through the open border to meet with Hamas. Hamas is supported financially and politically by the global Muslim Brotherhood and a NEFA Foundation report has documented the Hamas fund-raising activities of the Union of Good, a coalition of Islamic charities linked to the Brotherhood that provides financial support to both the Hamas “social” infrastructure, as well as its terrorist activities. Previous posts have also discussed the worldwide campaign orchestrated by the global Brotherhood against Israeli actions in Gaza during the 2008-2009 conflict with Israel. Anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli incitement in Hamas media is commonly reported.