Friday, for the first time in four years, Hamas members waved their green flags in the West Bank without persecution. Marching up Al Quds street of Ramallah, about 200 men, women and youth wrapped in green headbands or scarves swarmed around Al Manara.
Around 200 men and boys participated in the demonstration while many more showed up to witness the special event.
First published in Palestine Monitor: Unification: Hamas rallies in Ramallah
They shouted support for the recent reconciliation signed two days ago in Cairo between Fateh, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Al Mubadara and the other Palestinian parties. The crowd chanted for unity in the face of Israeli occupation with fingers pointed to the sky.
“I can’t even describe how big it is – to be able to speak freely, with no Hamas, Fateh and no Israel to prevent it,” said Akram Salima, a vocal Hamas member who was imprisoned by Israel for a year before spending two weeks in a Palestinian Authority in the wake of Hamas’ bloody takeover of the Gaza Strip and Fateh’s repressive West Bank rule.
“Today we showed the Israeli occupation we are one land,” Salima said, predicting a Third Intifada which would successfully employ any tactics for liberation. “This is a symbol of unity between Fateh and Hamas – I hope there will be no more problems between Fateh and Hamas and I hope we can join together in a revolution.”
“True reunification will be hard,” said Fateh supporter Muhammad Aghawani, “not the least because of Israeli sabotage.”
“I’m for reconciliation, but it doesn’t feel good at all to see Hamas flags,” Aghawani said. “As a Palestinian and a Fateh activist, I will never forget what happened to the people who were shot and the people who were killed by Hamas [during 2006]. Reconciliation will be hard – and Israel is doing everything it can to inhibit it.”
A West Bank Hamas spokesmen addressed the crowd at the end of the rally.
“Today we are not Hamas, we are not Fateh, we are Palestine,” he said.
Wahida wahida wataniya, he said, the shabab echoing him: “Unity, national unity.”