Special report: Palestine-Israel
GAZA, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- Tens of thousands of Hamas
supporters gathered in Gaza City on Saturday to mark the Islamic movement's
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
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)
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
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,
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.
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
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
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.