News / Middle East

Fatah Holds Rally in Gaza

Tens of thousands of Palestinians marched Friday carrying yellow banners of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party during celebrations marking the 48th anniversary of the Fatah movement in Gaza City, January 4, 2013.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians marched Friday carrying yellow banners of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party during celebrations marking the 48th anniversary of the Fatah movement in Gaza City, January 4, 2013.
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VOA News
Tens of thousands of Palestinians from the Fatah faction held a mass rally in Gaza Friday for the first time since the rival Islamic militant group Hamas seized control of the territory in a brief civil war in 2007.

The more moderate Fatah rules the West Bank, but as peace talks with Israel have deadlocked, it has sought reconciliation with Hamas.

Fatah leader and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the rally via television from his headquarters in the West Bank town of Ramallah.

Abbas said Fatah and Hamas must work together for unity because it is the only way to achieve Palestinian national goals and victory.

  • Women wave Palestinian (front) and Fatah flags during a rally marking the 48th anniversary of the founding of the Fatah movement, in Gaza City, January 4, 2013.
  • Palestinians take part in a rally marking the 48th anniversary of the founding of the Fatah movement, in Gaza City, January 4, 2013.
  • A youth waves a Palestinian flag as he climbs a tree during a rally marking the 48th anniversary of the founding of the Fatah movement, in Gaza City, January 4, 2013.
  • A masked Palestinian holds a traditional Arab headdress during Fatah anniversary celebration in the West Bank city of Nablus, January 3, 2013.
  • Palestinians perform during a rally celebrating the 48th anniversary of the Fatah movement, in the West Bank city of Nablus, January 3, 2013.
  • Palestinians march during a rally celebrating the 48th anniversary of the Fatah movement, in the West Bank city of Nablus, January 3, 2013.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri hailed the rally as a success for both Fatah and Hamas. He said the positive atmosphere is a step toward regaining national unity.

Israeli worries

But the emerging reconciliation worries Israel and the West because Hamas refuses to renounce violence and recognize the Jewish state. Israel, the United States and the European Union consider Hamas a terrorist organization.

Israeli spokesman Mark Regev says any alliance between Fatah and Hamas will harm efforts to revive the dormant Middle East peace process.

“It’s very important that the international community send a very clear message to the Palestinians that if they go with the extremists, that that’s just more international isolation," he said. "If they go with the moderates, then the international community is willing to work with them and support them.”

Egypt has tried to broker a power-sharing agreement between Fatah and Hamas, but deep divisions remain and a deal has been elusive.

Egypt plans to invite the rival Palestinian factions to a new round of negotiations in Cairo later this month.

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by: Michael from: USA
January 04, 2013 10:02 AM
Americans looking for better prices should look toward the Levant [Israel and Palestine] since merchandise trades hands in huge outputs, if only the region's buyers were allowed to begin shipments any time soon

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