You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

World

  • Pope creates panel to 'safeguard' marriage bond
    VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis has created a commission to study how to safeguard what the church calls the everlasting bonds of marriage while streamlining annulment procedures.
  • Buffer zone agreed on in Ukrainian peace talks
    MINSK, Belarus – Negotiators in Ukrainian peace talks agreed early Saturday to create a buffer zone between government troops and pro-Russian militants by halting their advances, pulling back heavy weapons and withdrawing foreign
  • Turkey: Islamic militants free 49 hostages
     ANKARA, Turkey – Dozens of Turkish hostages seized by Islamic militants in Iraq three months ago were freed and safely returned to Turkey on Saturday, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said, ending Turkey’s most
Advertisement
Associated Press
Palestinians in Gaza City hold yellow Fatah flags during celebrations Friday marking the 48th anniversary of the Fatah movement.

Fatah rallies in Hamas-led Gaza

Gathering shows Palestinian aim at national unity

– Tens of thousands of Fatah supporters rallied in the Hamas stronghold of Gaza on Friday for the first time since they were routed from power in the territory 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 Friday’s unprecedented Fatah show of strength that included hours of waving their yellow flags, dancing in the streets and chanting party slogans. For years, Fatah loyalists in Gaza faced retribution from the Hamas regime, which banned them from gathering.

“We feel like birds freed from our cage today,” said Fadwa Taleb, 46, who worked as a police officer for Fatah before the Hamas takeover and attended Friday’s rally with her family. “We are happy and feel powerful again.”

Top Fatah officials arrived in Gaza for the first time since they were violently ousted. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who rules the West Bank, did not attend, but he addressed the crowd on a large screen telling them “there is no substitute for national unity.”

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh also expressed hope that the two factions could reconcile their differences, sending Fatah a message that he hoped they could work together as joint representatives of the Palestinian people, according to Fatah official Nabil Shaath. Hamas was not directly involved in the event.

Ihab al-Ghussian, the chief spokesman for the Hamas government in Gaza, said the sides would “work toward the consolidation of national unity.” Egyptian officials say a first such meeting in months between the factions is scheduled for next week in Cairo.

Advertisement