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Fatah anniversary to go ahead in Gaza

Dec. 19, 2012 10:31 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 20, 2012 4:17 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Fatah is preparing to celebrate its 48th anniversary in the Gaza Strip, a senior party official said Tuesday, after a dispute in recent days over the political ceremony.

Hamas permitted the anniversary event, set for Jan. 1, in a conciliatory gesture reciprocated by the Fatah-dominated government in the West Bank for Hamas' anniversary last week.

The parties have fought bitterly since they split into separate governments in 2007, both accusing the other of curtailing their political activities.

The Fatah rally fell on problems when a party spokesman in the Gaza Strip said the Hamas government had refused to allow them to hold the festival in a main square in Gaza City, which he described as the only appropriate venue for a national rally.

Hamas said the arrangements were still ongoing but the festival was officially sanctioned.

West Bank-based Fatah leader Nabil Shaath told Ma'an on Tuesday evening that he expects Fatah to celebrate their anniversary without any restrictions, as Hamas did in the West Bank. The party is in touch with Hamas over the issue, he said.

Meanwhile, the preparations are going ahead. Fatah sent invitations to officials in Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other factions to participate in the celebrations, he said.
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