Friday, January 4, 2013
Fatah rally in Gaza looks toward unity with Hamas
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Tens of thousands of Fatah supporters rallied in the Hamas stronghold of Gaza today for the first time since they were routed from power there by the Islamist militants in 2007.
The rally, approved by Gaza’s Hamas rulers, marks a renewed attempt by the rival Palestinian factions to show unity following a fierce Hamas battle with Israel in November and Fatah’s subsequent recognition bid at the United Nations.
But many obstacles still remain before the sides can settle their differences, chief among them how to deal with Israel. Several rounds of reconciliation talks over recent years centered on finding ways to share power have failed to yield results.
Still, both sides expressed optimism following today’s unprecedented Fatah show of strength. For years, Fatah loyalists in Gaza faced retribution from the Hamas regime, which banned them from gathering.