'PA grants Hamas permission to hold W. Bank rally'

Gesture comes amid renewed signs of reconciliation efforts, Fatah participation in Gaza Hamas celebrations.

Hamas rally in Gaza Strip huge crowds 390 (photo credit: Suhaib Salem / Reuters)
Hamas rally in Gaza Strip huge crowds 390
(photo credit: Suhaib Salem / Reuters)
The Palestinian Authority on Monday granted Hamas permission to mount a 25th anniversary celebration in the West Bank in growing signs that Fatah and rival Hamas are working to end the five-year schism between them, Ma'an News Agency reported.
The festival, to take place on Thursday, will feature speeches from Hamas leaders. Hamas had earlier approved plans for Fatah, its rival that controls the PA, to celebrate its own anniversary in Gaza.
The most recent sign of reconciliation between the factions follows Fatah's participation in the Gaza version of Hamas's 25th anniversary celebration on Saturday.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced Sunday that he planned to head to Cairo soon to resume reconciliation talks with Hamas.
“Reconciliation [with Hamas] is dear to us and the unity of our people,” Abbas told the Arab League in Doha, Qatar.
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal agreed. He told an audience at Gaza’s Islamic University that “responsibility for Palestine is bigger than one faction alone... Hamas cannot do without Fatah and Fatah cannot do without Hamas.”
The two Palestinian groups have been rivals since Hamas threw Fatah out of Gaza in a bloody coup in 2007. Hamas is also opposed to Fatah’s recognition of Israel along the pre-1967 lines.
Tovah Lazaroff and Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.