Rallies organized by a grassroots youth movement in Palestine took place all over the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Tuesday. The largest such rally was in Gaza City, involving tens of thousands of Palestinians from every political faction.Both major Palestinian political parties, Hamas and Fateh, endorsed the rallies, which called for an end to internal divisions in Palestinian society, and a unified resistance to the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. Rallies involving all political factions are rare in Palestine, where most marches are organized by political parties.
The organizers of the rally, a loose coalition of youth groups and individuals from across the political spectrum, used online social networks to help spread the word about the day of action, following the lead of Arab youth in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
Youth activists stayed overnight in the Square if the Unknown Soldier in Gaza City Monday night, and were joined by tens of thousands of supporters on Tuesday who held Palestinian flags, as well as the flags of various political parties. They chanted slogans for political unity, and called for a unified and non-violent resistance to the Israeli occupation and takeover of their land.
Some organizers called for a return of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the PLO, as the voice of the Palestinian people, and some called for the dismantling of the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas, saying the Authority was illegitimate and not representative of the Palestinian people. But most of the participants simply called for an end to internal divisions among the Palestinian people.
Since Hamas won elections in 2006 in Palestine, the Fatah party, which lost power, has tried to reclaim power using coercion and violence, with Hamas supporters responding with violence. A wave of attacks and counter-attacks took place throughout 2007 and 2008 in Gaza, with hundreds of people killed and injured on both sides.