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Fatah hold first mass Gaza rally in years

Saturday January 05, 2013 08:06:48 PM, IINA

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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.”


The Fatah-controlled 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 observer state.


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.


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