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Women demonstrate in Gaza in support of UN bid

Sept. 22, 2011 5:50 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 23, 2011 9:51 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Dozens of women marched in support of the Palestinian bid for UN membership on Thursday, in a rally jointly organized by the General Federation of Palestinian Women and political party FIDA.

The marchers called for wavering countries to take a position and support Palestinian rights, refusing Israeli and US pressure to nix the bid.

President Mahmoud Abbas is set to submit the application for Palestine to join the UN as 'State 194' on Friday, amid a flurry of diplomacy to allay a confrontation leading from Israeli and US opposition to the bid.

Member of the Fatah revolutionary council Amal Hamad addressed the march by reading a statement of support for the Palestinian leadership.

She condemned Obama’s speech rejecting the Palestinian UN proposal, and called for national unity and implementation of the May agreement signed by Hamas and Fatah in Cairo.

The deal sought to end four years of division of the Gaza Strip and West Bank governments, after Hamas ousted Fatah in Gaza as tensions between the feuding parties exploded into violence.

Implementation of the agreement has faltered as parties continue to joust over key tenets, including the position of prime minister in a unity government.

Abbas's Fatah party have championed the UN bid alongside other PLO factions while Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip and is not a member of the PLO, has expressed opposition.

"There is no mandate for any Palestinian leadership to infringe on Palestinian national rights, nor is there a mandate for any Palestinian actor to make historic concessions on Palestinian land or the right of the Palestinians, foremost among them the right of return," Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said on Sunday.

"Given this position, we reiterate our rejection of this bid," he added.

The Gaza government said it had banned demonstrations in favor of the initiative.

"Seeking to prevent any moves that could further disagreement and rivalry, Hamas and Fatah agreed to avoid any popular activities, or rallies both pro or against the UN bid," a government statement said.

Fatah leader Thiab al-Louh on Monday denied that an agreement had been reached in the Gaza Strip to prevent the organization of rallies supporting the UN bid.

Al-Louh said the claims "represent Hamas' own attitude," noting that Fatah had asked that the public be allowed enough freedom to express "their feelings at this historic stage."

Thousands demonstrated in support of the bid in cities across the West Bank on Wednesday.
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