In Gaza, Anticipation over Abbas’ Proposed Visit

17.03.11 – 13:01

Gaza City – PNN – One day after Abbas remarked that he would “go to Gaza tomorrow” to ensure reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas and national unity in the face of the Israeli occupation, Gazans in the Hamas-ruled territory said they were eager to find out what the Palestinian President had to say.


(PNN Archive).








At a PLO conference on Wednesday, the day after thousands of Palestinians took to the streets of Bethlehem, Ramallah, Hebron, and Gaza City in a planned rally demanding “the end of division,” Abbas said respected the will of the people and offered to meet with Hamas chief Isma’il Haniyeh “tomorrow.” As of Thursday, however, Abbas was not in the Gaza Strip. It would be his first visit since 2007.

“I want to welcome you to the nation you yearn for,” Abbas said.

In Ramallah, the Hamas councilor Dr. Aziz Dwayk, who presides over the Palestinian Legislative Council, said he welcomed Abbas’ words. Dwayk said he hoped Abbas’s visit would culminate in “successful reconciliatory efforts.”

Gazans told the Palestinian state-run news wire Wafa that the expected visit of Abbas was a “courageous step” toward national unity.

Abu Ayman Salman, 80, said from Gaza City that he was happy to welcome Abbas, “president of all the Palestinian people.”

Dr. Abdul Qader Hamad, head of the geography department at al-Aqsa University in Gaza City, said Abbas was making an important first step toward national unity and called it a “wise move.”

Sami Salim, a youth from Gaza City, said he considered the Hamas-Fatah feud an aid to the occupation and hoped to see the end of “division and fragmentation” in the Palestinian cause.

Hamas and Fatah have ruled separately over the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, respectively, since a bloody factional war erupted in 2006 after Hamas won Palestinian general elections. Palestinians refer to the period as al-wakseh, or “the humiliation,” in which at least 200 Palestinians were killed.

In the Palestinian cities of Ramallah, Bethlehem, and Gaza City, youths have occupied central squares and undertaken hunger strikes, which they say they will not end until Palestinian unity is achieved.

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