Gaza City: Hundreds of thousands gathered in Gaza City Friday
to mark the 48th anniversary of the Fatah movement, for the first
time since Hamas took control in 2007.
Several senior Fatah officials, from both the Gaza Strip and the
West Bank, spoke in the rally, which was held in the Gaza City’s
main square of Al-Saraya under the watchful eyes of hundreds of
Hamas security forces.
A number of top Fatah officials traveled from the West Bank to
Gaza for the rally, including Jibril Rajoub and Nabil Sha’ath,
both members of Fatah’s Central Committee, Fatah cofounder
Abdulaziz Shahin (Abu Ali Shahin), and Fadwa Al-Barghouthi, the
wife of jailed Fatah leader Marwan Al-Barghouthi.
On trucks, in cars or just walking on foot, the huge crowds of
Fatah supporters started to gather at the square since Thursday
night to attend the rally that marks the anniversary of the
movement, which was found in January 1965.
The participants were
waving the flags of Palestine, yellow flags of Fatah, pictures of
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and chanting the party’s
slogans in a festive atmosphere.
Yahya Rabah, deputy head of
Fatah’s higher committee in the Gaza Strip, said that “this one
million rally of Fatah members and supporters in the Gaza Strip is
a message to Hamas and Israel.”
Rabah said that the participants attended the rally “to tell Hamas
that we are eager for reconciliation and unity.”
He added that the
participants took to the streets to tell (Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin) Netanyahu that the Palestinian state will be established
in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and with East Jerusalem as its
capital soon whether he accepts it or not.”
Palestinian Authority (PA) permitted Hamas last December to
celebrate its anniversary in several West Bank cities also for the
first time since 2007.
Hamas and Fatah have pledged to work to end their differences in
the aftermath of Israeli aggression and the UN General Assembly
vote in favor of upgrading the Palestinians’ status to nonmember
Following November’s aggression on the Gaza Strip,
several Fatah officials, including Nabil Sha’ath of the movement’s
Central Committee, took part in “victory” celebrations organized
by Hamas and Islamic Jihad.