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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
03AMMAN6000 2003-09-17 14:06:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Amman
Cable title:  

TERRORIST FINANCE: AMMAN: HAMAS NAMES: JORDAN

Tags:   ETTC EFIN PTER KPAL JO 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
					C O N F I D E N T I A L AMMAN 006000 

SIPDIS

EB/ESC/ESP(GGLASS)
S/CT (SFOX)
IO/PHO (APEREZ)
NSC (JMYERS)
TREASURY FOR GC AUFHAUSER/ZARATE
TREASURY FOR OFAC NEWCOMB
TREASURY TASK FORCE ON TERRORIST FINANCING

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/17/2008
TAGS: ETTC EFIN PTER KPAL JO
SUBJECT: TERRORIST FINANCE: AMMAN: HAMAS NAMES: JORDAN
RESCINDS FREEZE

REF: A. SECSTATE 242722


B. AMMAN 5941

Classified By: David M. Hale, Charge d'Affaires a.i.



1. (c) Summary. The Jordanian Central Bank canceled an
order to commercial banks to freeze bank accounts of
HAMAS-connected individuals and entities in Jordan following
a political firestorm sparked when the order leaked in the
local press. Although there were no actual HAMAS-related
funds in Jordan -- following Jordan's 1999 decision to close
HAMAS offices and expel organization leaders -- the incident
shows the depth of sympathy for HAMAS's charitable work among
some elements of the Jordanian public. End Summary.



2. (c) Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ) Deputy Governor
Muhammad Said Shahin confirmed a September 16 Petra news
agency report that the CBJ had rescinded an instruction to
commercial banks to freeze financial assets of HAMAS-related
individuals and entities in Jordan. Shahin said this
followed a political firestorm sparked by the September 15
publication by al-Rai newspaper of the CBJ instruction, which
CBJ Governor Umayya Toukan circulated to the banking
community during the last week of August, following the
receipt of reftel request. The Petra report, quoting
information minister Nabil Sharif, was featured prominently
in Arabic and English dailies September 17.



3. (c) Shahin said Toukan had no alternative but to cancel
his instruction, which had been issued in conformity with the
GOJ's practice of following U.S. asset freeze orders, in
order to help "cool things down." He said the issue was, in
any case, academic -- since none of the six HAMAS leaders or
organizations maintained accounts in Jordan. Indeed, he
noted that Jordan had already made the politically costly
decision in 1999 to arrest HAMAS leaders (including several
listed in the assets freeze) and expel the organization from
Jordan. Thus, the current uproar made little sense, and
Shahin hoped it would pass quickly.



4. (c) Shahin also blamed the Banking Association, from
which al-Rai had apparently obtained the Governor's
handwritten letter, for mishandling the instruction, as well
as al-Rai, a government-owned and controlled newspaper, for
publishing it. The CBJ had hoped to keep the instruction
confidential among banks to avoid the furor that has indeed

SIPDIS
resulted.



5. (c) Comment: While the GOJ shares U.S. views on HAMAS,
the incident shows the depth of sympathy for HAMAS's
charitable work (and more) among large segments of the
public. A senior MFA official recently described to POL and
ECON counselors the dilemma the government faced in taking
action against HAMAS, which many Jordanians see as a
"humanitarian" organization providing much-needed services to
Palestinians. Thus, the GOJ had never formally designated
HAMAS as a political organization. Members of the Jordanian
Muslim Brotherhood/Islamic Action Front, longtime advocates
of HAMAS, decried the asset freeze and the European decision
to blacklist HAMAS (ref b). We expect IAF deputies in
parliament to denounce the incident -- as yet another example
of US favoritism of Israel as they have in response to nearly
recent events perceived to hurt HAMAS or the Palestinian
cause.
HALE