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The rally Photo: EPA
The rally Photo: EPA
 
Fatah supporters in Gaza Photo: EPA
Fatah supporters in Gaza Photo: EPA
 
 

Gaza marks Fatah's 48th anniversary

Rival Palestinian factions continue trying to mend fences as Hamas allows first Fatah rally in Gaza City since 2007. Legions gather in Saraya square; other cities across Gaza

Elior Levy
Latest Update: 01.04.13, 14:37 / Israel News

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians gathered in Gaza City Friday to mark the 48th anniversary of the Fatah movement.

 

This was the first Fatah rally held in the Strip since Hamas violently took control of it in 2007, essentially splitting the Palestinian Authority in two.

 

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The rally, held under the banner of "The State and the Victory, is held under the watchful eye of hundreds of Hamas security forces.

 

Several senior Fatah officials, from both Gaza and the West Bank, are expected to speak in the rally, including former security chief Jibril Rajoub, senior Fatah official Nabil Shaath, faction co-founder Abu Ali Shaheen and Fadwa Barghouti, wife of former Fatah Secretary-General Marwan Barghouti, who is serving multiple life sentences in Israel.

 

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas spoke to the crowds via video feed from Ramallah.  

 


Show of force for Fatah. Gaza City (Photo: EPA)

 

"Our people are living under an occupation and a siege and our mission is to unite our efforts to save our capital Jerusalem," he said. "But victory is coming and we will see in soon, in Gaza."

 

He went on to praise the various Fatah "shahids" – militants who died a "martyr's" death and made it a point to offer similar praise to Hamas militants who were killed, as well as prominent operatives in the other Palestinian factions.

 

"The Palestinians were in dire straits where Fatah was formed. The world wanted nothing to do with us. We had no country and no political entity. We were labeled beggars in need of handouts…. Fatah was formed for the Palestinians," he said.

 

The Palestinian president also urged Israel to lift the blockade places on Gaza Strip.

 


The rally (Photo: Reuters)

 

Traditionally bitter rivals, Hamas and Fatah's reconciliation attempts over the years have been short-lived. Recently however, and following the PA's successful status upgrade gambit in the UN, the two ruling Palestinian factions have been trying to mend fences. 

 

Ramallah had recently allowed a rare – and massive – Hamas rally to be held in Nablus. Friday's Fatah rally in Gaza is apparently meant to be a reciprocal gesture.

 

According to the Palestinian news agency Maan, crowds began gathering in Saraya square in Gaza City on Thursday night. 

 

Ramallah had recently allowed a rare – and massive – Hamas rally to be held in Nablus. Friday's Fatah rally in Gaza is apparently meant to be a reciprocal gesture.

 

According to the Palestinian news agency Maan, crowds began gathering in Saraya square in Gaza City on Thursday night.

 

Abbas' supporters were waiving Fatah flags and chanting the party's slogans.

 

Similar rallies took place in other cities across Gaza, as well.

 

Fatah traditionally marks its anniversary on January 1, in honor of the first guerrilla operation it claimed against Israel, which took place in 1965. 

 

AFP contributed to this report

 

 

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First Published: 01.04.13, 11:23

 

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