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Hamas allows Fatah to celebrate anniversary in Gaza
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
12/15/2012
Decision taken in context of efforts to achieve Palestinian reconciliation, according to Hamas Interior Ministry official.
 
The Hamas government announced Saturday that it has given Fatah permission to hold rallies in the Gaza Strip marking its 48th anniversary.

The Hamas-controlled Interior Ministry has accepted a Fatah request to hold the celebrations, a senior Hamas official said. The official said the decision was made in the context of efforts to achieve reconciliation between the two groups.

The Hamas government had banned Fatah celebrations in Gaza since the Islamist movement seized control over the Strip in 2007.

Last week, the Palestinian Authority permitted Hamas to celebrate its 25th anniversary in Nablus, Hebron, Tulkarm and Ramallah in the West Bank, marking the first time Hamas held public rallies there since 2007.

On Saturday, Fatah leaders in the Gaza Strip met with top Hamas officials to seek permission to hold the celebrations later this month.

Yehya Rabah, a senior Fatah official, said that he had good reason to believe that the celebrations would take place for the first time since 2007.

“We have received permission in principle to hold the rallies,” Rabah said. “Now we are waiting for a final license.”

He said that Fatah has invited Hamas leaders and representatives in the Gaza Strip to attend the celebrations. Fatah leaders participated in last week’s Hamas celebrations in the West Bank.
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