Abbas's Fatah holds first mass Gaza Strip rally in years

Palestinian rivals signal desire for national reconciliation; Egypt says it's planning new talks between Hamas and Fatah amid Israeli fears of a Hamas takeover of the West Bank.

By REUTERS
January 4, 2013 12:41
2 minute read.
Fatah supporters at rally in Gaza City

Fatah rally in Gaza City 370 (R). (photo credit: Suhaib Salem / Reuters)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

GAZA - Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians joined a rare rally staged by PA President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction in Gaza on Friday, as tensions ease with rival Hamas Islamists ruling the enclave since 2007.

A long hiatus in peace talks between Abbas's administration and Israel has narrowed ideological differences between the two main Palestinian factions. Solidarity has deepened since Israel's Gaza assault in November, in which Hamas, though battered, declared victory.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Abbas remains based in West Bank, but several of his senior advisers attended Friday's march in the Gaza Strip, festooned with yellow Fatah flags rather than the green Hamas colors that have dominated such events since Hamas fighters drove Fatah from the territory in 2007.

"The message today is that Fatah cannot be wiped out," said Amal Hamad, a member of the group's ruling body. "Fatah lives, no one can exclude it and it seeks to end the division."

The demonstration marked 48 years since the secular Fatah's founding as the spearhead of the Palestinians' fight against Israel. Its longtime leader Yasser Arafat signed an interim 1993 peace accord that won Palestinians a measure of self-rule.

The hardline Hamas movement, which does not recognize Israel's right to exist, rejected the deal, but fought and won a Palestinian parliamentary election in 2006. It formed an uneasy coalition with Fatah until their violent split a year later.

Though shunned by the West, Hamas feels bolstered by the electoral gains of Islamist political movements in neighboring Egypt and elsewhere in the region - a confidence reflected in the fact Friday's Fatah demonstration was allowed to take place.



"The success of the rally is a success for Fatah, and for Hamas too," said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri. "The positive atmosphere is a step on the way to regain national unity."

Egypt has long tried to broker Hamas-Fatah reconciliation, but past efforts have foundered over questions of power-sharing, control of weaponry, and to what extent Israel and other powers would accept a Palestinian administration including Hamas.

An Egyptian official told Reuters that Cairo was preparing to invite the factions for new negotiations within two weeks.

Israel fears grassroots support for Hamas could eventually topple Abbas's Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. The Palestinians say Israel's settlement building has undermined Abbas's credibility as a statesman.

"Hamas could seize control of the PA any day," Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Thursday.

Related Content

Sarah Silverman
August 26, 2014
Jewish women take home gold at 2014 Emmys

By JTA