Hamas marks 20th birthday in Gaza with big rally
www.chinaview.cn 2007-12-15 18:25:41   Print

Special report: Palestine-Israel Relations    

    GAZA, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- Tens of thousands of Hamas supporters gathered in Gaza City on Saturday to mark the Islamic movement's 20-year-old birthday.

    People first gathered in front of many mosques in the Gaza Strip, which has been under Hamas rule since mid-June when Hamas militants routed security forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement.

Tens of thousands of Hamas supporters gathered in Gaza City on Saturday to mark the Islamic movement's 20-year-old birthday.

Palestinian Hamas supporters attend a rally organised by the Hamas movement to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its foundation, in Gaza Dec. 15, 2007. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)


    Crowds then moved to the al-Kateeba square in northwest Gaza City, which had witnessed the death of seven supporters of Abbas' Fatah movement last month in a clash with Hamas police during a large demonstration to mark the third anniversary of late President Yasser Arafat's death.

    Hamas supporters, including women and children, gathered under the motto of "the rally of victory from the heart of the siege," referring to the Israeli siege of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

    Mushier al-Massri, a Hamas lawmaker, addressed the huge crowd at the beginning of the rally and said that hundreds of thousands were participating in the rally. "This number confirms that people still support Hamas despite the tight siege," he said.

    Flash polls in November indicated a decline in Hamas' popularity following the crackdown on the peaceful rally to commemorate Arafat's death.

Tens of thousands of Hamas supporters gathered in Gaza City on Saturday to mark the Islamic movement's 20-year-old birthday.

Palestinian Hamas supporters burn Israeli flags during a rally organised by the Hamas movement to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its foundation, in Gaza Dec. 15, 2007.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)


    Al-Massri said that Hamas "will stick to its stances as the hills and heights of Palestine and will keep the principles more than keep our sons."

    Hamas, he said, "has gained power by the will of the people under the conspiracy of the family members and the strangers to topple this project and silence the sound of resistance."

    Meanwhile, a Hamas leader said that his movement "extends its hand for dialogue with Fatah," adding that this call doesn't reflect a weakness from Hamas.

    "We call for a real, unconditional dialogue that tackles all the issues and maintain the interests of the home, not the foreign agenda," said Osama al-Muzini, a senior Hamas official.

Tens of thousands of Hamas supporters gathered in Gaza City on Saturday to mark the Islamic movement's 20-year-old birthday.

Palestinian Hamas supporters shout slogans during a rally organised by the Hamas movement to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its foundation, in Gaza Dec. 15, 2007.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)


    Right after Hamas' takeover of the Gaza Strip in June, Abbas not only fired the Hamas-led coalition government, also severed all contacts with Hamas. As a result, the national dialogue between Hamas and Fatah has since collapsed.

    Abbas conditioned that any resumption of dialogue with Hamas has to be preceded by Hamas regret over taking over Gaza, and should bring the situation back to what it was before mid-June.

    Hamas, or the Islamic Resistance Movement, was created in 1987 by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin of the Gaza wing of the Muslim Brotherhood at the beginning of the first Intifada, or uprising.

    Hamas' charter calls for the destruction of the state of Israel, and it is listed as a terrorist organization Israel, the U.S. and the EU.

    In early 2006, Hamas joined in the Palestinian parliamentary elections for the first time and surprisingly defeat Abbas' Fatah movement, seizing a majority in the Palestinian Legislative Council.  

Editor: Wang Yan
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