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.
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
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.”
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
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
“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.