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Fatah Still Cannot Challenge Hamas in Gaza

Despite Fatah's large rally in Gaza and discontent with Hamas rule, Fatah still is unlikely to be able to challenge Hamas in Gaza, writes Hazem Balousha.
A boy waves a Palestinian flag during a rally marking the 48th anniversary of the founding of the Fatah movement, in Gaza City January 4, 2013. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians joined a rare rally staged by President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah group in Gaza on Friday, as tensions ease with rival Hamas Islamists ruling the enclave since 2007. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem (GAZA - Tags: POLITICS ANNIVERSARY) - RTR3C3GR

The high numbers that attended Fatah’s 48th anniversary rally in Gaza earlier this month stunned not only its rival Hamas, but also the Fatah leadership itself in the West Bank. It was Fatah’s first rally in the Gaza Strip since Hamas took power in the enclave in 2007.

Fatah's rally came less than a month after Hamas’ rally marking its 25th anniversary of Hamas, which was also held for the first time in a number of West Bank cities as a gesture by the Palestinian Authority toward reconciliation.

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