Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been taking part in a rare rally staged by President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah group in Gaza.
The demonstration marks 48 years since the secular Fatah’s founding as the spearhead of the Palestinians’ fight against Israel.
But such a show of force was unimaginable six months ago. A long hiatus in peace talks with Israel has seen Fatah narrow its differences with its political rival Hamas, which has ruled the enclave since 2007.
Solidarity has also deepened since Israel’s Gaza assault in November after which, although severely battered, Hamas declared victory.
Addressing the crowd, Mahmoud Abbas said: “We are going to celebrate the revolution that started to bring about the victory. This final victory will certainly come, and, God willing, we’ll meet very soon in Gaza, glorious Gaza.”
The sight of such celebrations may boost Egyptian hopes of finally brokering a reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah. Previous efforts have collapsed over power-sharing and control of weaponry.
Cairo has said it is preparing to invite the factions for new negotiations within two weeks.