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Fatah set to celebrate 48th anniversary in Gaza City
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
03/01/2013
"Cordial and warm" talks between PA, Hamas set the stage for 48th anniversary of Fatah; first time event held in Gaza since 2007.
 
Hamas and Fatah leaders on Wednesday discussed preparations for holding a rally to celebrate, in the Gaza Strip, the 48th anniversary of the “launch of the revolution” by Fatah.

The Fatah rally is expected to be held in a major square in Gaza City on Friday.

Nabil Sha’ath, a member of the Fatah Central Council, met in the city with Ismail Haniyeh, prime minister of the Hamas government, who congratulated Fatah on the anniversary.

Haniyeh expressed hope that the Fatah event would pave the way for reconciliation between the two rival parties.

He said he had instructed Hamas security forces to do their utmost to ensure that the Fatah celebrations take place safely and without disruptions.

This would be the first time that Fatah celebrates its anniversary in the Gaza Strip since the Islamist movement seized control of the area in 2007.

Last month, the Palestinian Authority allowed Hamas supporters to hold rallies in the West Bank marking the 25th anniversary of the establishment of their movement.

Thousands of Hamas supporters attended the rallies, which were held in Ramallah, Nablus, Kalkilya, Hebron and Tulkarm.

Salah Abu Sharkh, commander of the Hamas security forces in the Gaza Strip, announced that hundreds of his men have been recruited to guard the Fatah rally.

Sha’ath described his talks with Haniyeh and other Hamas leaders as “cordial and warm.” He said Hamas representatives have been invited to attend the Fatah rally.

The Fatah official repeated his call for unity with Hamas “in the aftermath of the victory against Israel in the Gaza Strip and the diplomatic triumph at the UN General Assembly,” both in November.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said his movement was interested in the success of the Fatah celebrations in the Gaza Strip.

“We feel that we are moving forward toward unity,” he said. “The two sides need to continue providing a positive climate until reconciliation is achieved.”

Another Hamas official, Salah Bardaweel, voiced optimism regarding the prospects of ending the rivalry with Fatah. He said that Hamas’s “victory” against Israel during the recent war and the success of the PA’s statehood bid at the UN had contributed remarkably to the creation of a positive atmosphere between the two parties.

Bardaweel also predicted “rapprochement” between Hamas and the West in the coming months.

He said it was in the interest of the Palestinians that Hamas reach Europe in order to present the Palestinian narrative.

“When Western countries discovered that it was difficult to separate Hamas from the Palestinian cause, they realized that they had committed a mistake,” Bardaweel said.

He then claimed that Hamas officials had recently met with many American and EU officials, but did not elaborate.
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