Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FASHION

Paris, Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2014-2015.

Read more

REPORTERS

Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

2014-07-11 21:47 AFRICA NEWS

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Finally, a good use for new app "Yo"

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014

Read more

#THE 51%

Sweden: A Feminist's Paradise?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Politics: parties under pressure

Read more

FOCUS

In Burma, the rise of radical Buddhism

Read more

  • UN Security Council calls for Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire

    Read more

  • The third-place playoff: the World Cup game no one wants to play

    Read more

  • Afghan presidential candidates agree to full vote audit, Kerry says

    Read more

  • France’s Kadri wins eighth stage at Tour de France

    Read more

  • Legal challenge to French mayor’s ban of Muslim hijab on beach

    Read more

  • Last of the Ramones, Tommy Ramone, dies aged 62

    Read more

  • Video: Outrage in wake of deadly Casablanca buildings collapse

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces ‘executed prisoners in reprisal’ for ISIS killings

    Read more

  • Ukraine promises retaliation after rebel assault

    Read more

  • Putin revives old Cuban flame and eyes Latin American minerals

    Read more

  • Amazon snubs French free delivery ban with one-cent charge

    Read more

  • Cleveland's NBA fans hail 'return of king' LeBron James

    Read more

  • Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

    Read more

  • Magnitude 6.8 quake, small tsunami hit east Japan

    Read more

  • Suspect in Brussels Jewish Museum shooting drops extradition appeal

    Read more

Middle east

Hundreds of thousands of Fatah followers rally in Gaza

©

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-01-05

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians rallied on Friday to celebrate the 48th anniversary of Fatah taking up arms against Israel. It is the group's first mass gathering in Gaza since rivals Hamas took control of the territory in 2007.

Hundreds of thousands of supporters of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah party on Friday held their first mass rally in Gaza since Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007, according to a Fatah spokesman.

Hamas, in a sign of reconciliation with Fatah, permitted the rally to go ahead as the climax of a week of Gaza festivities celebrating the 48th anniversary of Fatah taking up arms against Israel.

'It was like a rock concert'

FRANCE 24 correspondent in Jerusalem, Irris Makler, said it was telling that Hamas agreed to the rally at the last moment. Unity is “what the people want but I don’t think the politicians have actually internalised that and kept up,” she added.

Demonstrators waved Palestinian and Fatah flags and carried pictures of Abbas, an AFP correspondent reported.

"This crowd is a vote in favour of (Abbas's) Palestinian Authority and shows that Fatah is still out in front," local Fatah leader Selim al-Zaraei told AFP.

The centrepiece of the event was a short speech by Abbas from his West Bank headquarters in Ramallah, beamed to the Gaza crowd on giant screens.

"Victory is near and we will meet you in Gaza in the near future," the Palestinian president said.

"Gaza was the first Palestinian territory rid of (Israeli) occupation and settlement and we want a lifting of the blockade so that it can be free and linked to the rest of the nation."

Fatah Gaza spokesman Fayez Abou Eita told AFP ahead of the speech: "Hundreds of thousands of people are currently taking part in the public festivities."

Hamas congratulated Fatah on the anniversary in a statement, saying it considered it a "celebration of national unity and asuccess for Hamas as well as Fatah."

"This positive atmosphere is a step on road to restoring national unity," it said.

Abbas's address was to be followed by a speech by senior Fatah official Nabil Shaath, who travelled to Gaza from the the West Bank for the event.

He was to be followed by Hamas official Rawhi Mushtaha, who was to speak in the name of all the Palestinian factions.

Several thousand supporters gathered at the beginning of the festivities on Monday night at the Saraya complex in Gaza City, holding pictures of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Abbas, and waving Fatah flags as fireworks went off.

Similar events took place across the Gaza Strip.

Hamas and Fatah had been at loggerheads since the Islamist movement seized control of Gaza in June 2007, following its victory in Palestinian parliamentary elections the previous year.

But under Egyptian mediation, the two groups reached a unity agreement in April 2011, although it has so far not been implemented.

The anniversary commemorates the first operation against Israel claimed by Fatah's armed wing, then known as Al-Assifa (The Thunderstorm in Arabic), on January 1, 1965.

Israel considers Hamas a terrorist organisation, and is opposed to it moving closer to Fatah.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-01-04

  • GAZA

    Exiled Hamas chief Meshaal to lead Gaza 'victory rally'

    Read more

  • PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

    Abbas returns home after historic UN vote

    Read more

  • UN - PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

    UN recognises Palestine as non-member observer state

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)