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Gaza celebrates Fatah anniversary (PHOTOS)
Friday, January 4th, 2013

Hundreds of thousands of Fatah supporters rallied in Gaza to mark the organization's 48th anniversary on Friday.

Hamas, which governs Gaza and is a rival movement of Fatah, allowed the rally to take place.

GlobalPost's Israel correspondent Noga Tarnopolsky noted that there have been several attempts at reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah since 2007, when Hamas wrested control of Gaza from Ramallah.

She said this latest effort, which began after the Palestinians successfully got recognized as a "non-voting observer state" by the United Nations, appears to be the most serious.

The Palestinian government in the West Bank had permitted Hamas to hold a rally in Nablus recently, and the Fatah rally in Gaza is seen as a reciprocation.

In recorded remarks played before the giant crowd, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas struck a chord of unity.

"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," he said, according to Agence France-Presse.

Abbas added, "Victory is near and we will meet you in Gaza in the near future."

However, the future of Fatah still has hurdles to overcome: the rally was canceled halfway through due to fighting and overcrowding between the movement's factions, leaving 20 people injured, according to the New York Times

Tarnopolsky chalked the event up as being "only a so-so auguring of renewed Fatah-Hamas ties." 

Gaza fatah celebrations 1
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Palestinian security forces parade along the streets of the West Bank city of Nablus on January 3, 2013, during a ceremony to celebrate the 48th anniversary of the founding of the Fatah movement in Gaza. The anniversary commemorates the first operation against Israel claimed by its armed wing then known as Al-Assifa (The Thunderstorm in Arabic) on January 1, 1965.

(JAAFAR ASHTIYEH - AFP/Getty Images)
Gaza fatah celebrations 2
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A Palestinian waves a flag bearing the image of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat (L) who founded the Fatah movement, alongside other flags as they celebrate the 48th anniversary of the founding of the Gaza branch of the party during a ceremony in the West Bank city of Nablus on January 3, 2013. The anniversary commemorates the first operation against Israel claimed by its armed wing then known as Al-Assifa (The Thunderstorm in Arabic) on January 1, 1965.

(JAAFAR ASHTIYEH - AFP/Getty Images)
Gaza fatah celebrations 3
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A Palestinian wearing the trademark chequerred keffieyh with a national flag painted on his face, attends a rally in support of president Mahmoud Abbas's Farah party on January 4, 2013 in Gaza City. The rally was the first in Gaza since Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007, marking the 48th anniversary of Fatah taking up arms against Israel.

(MOHAMMED ABED - AFP/Getty Images)
Gaza fatah celebrations 4
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Waving national flags (R) and Fatah's yellow banners, hundreds of thousands of supporters of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas's party held on January 4, 2013 their first mass rally in Gaza since Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007. 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.

(MOHAMMED ABED - AFP/Getty Images)
Gaza fatah celebrations 5
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Waving national flags (R) and Fatah's yellow banners, hundreds of thousands of supporters of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas's party held on January 4, 2013 their first mass rally in Gaza since Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007. 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.

(MOHAMMED ABED - AFP/Getty Images)
Gaza fatah celebrations 6
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Waving Fatah's yellow banners, young supporters of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas's party hold on January 4, 2013 their first mass rally in Gaza since Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007. 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.

(MOHAMMED ABED - AFP/Getty Images)
Gaza fatah celebrations 7
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Waving Fatah's yellow banners, veiled women supporting Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas's party take part on January 4, 2013 in Fatah's first mass rally in Gaza since Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007. 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.

(SAID KHATIB - AFP/Getty Images)
Gaza fatah celebrations 8
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Waving Fatah's yellow flags on the top of a wall, young supporters of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas's party hold on January 4, 2013 their first mass rally in Gaza since Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007. 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.

(SAID KHATIB - AFP/Getty Images)
Gaza fatah celebrations 9
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A Palestinian woman supporter of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas's wears a scarf and a Fatah headband as she takes part on January 4, 2013 in Fatah's first mass rally in Gaza since Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007. 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.

(SAID KHATIB - AFP/Getty Images)
Gaza fatah celebrations 10
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Balloons lift up a giant poster featuring Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat on January 4, 2013 during the Fatah's first mass rally in Gaza since Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007. 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.

(SAID KHATIB - AFP/Getty Images)
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