Palestinians commemorated the 13th anniversary remembering the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. The occasion brought together the "democratic reformist movement" led by the dismissed leader of the Fatah movement, Mohammed Dahlan, with leaders of the Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip.
Some 2,000 Dahlan supporters attended the festival organized by the “reformist movement”. The families of 100 Palestinians killed during the Fatah -Hamas fighting in 2007 also partook in the event.
This commemoration came as rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas seek to carry out a landmark reconciliation deal signed last month that aims to end their 10-year rift.
Majid Abu Shamala, one of Dahlan's leaders, praised Arafat’s long revolutionary history. He attacked the current Fatah leadership.
Hamas political official Khalil al-Hayya said that Arafat was "not only Fatah’s leader, but a Palestinian for all Palestinians", pointing out that he led a revolutionary life and called for unity.
In Ramallah and other West Bank cities, mass rallies were held in which Arafat pictures were raised and slogans such as "Jerusalem has millions of martyrs" chanted. Demonstrators visited Arafat’s grave at the provincial headquarters.
Fatah central committee member Mahmoud al-Alul said the anniversary "is very stressful for Palestinian’s feelings because he was an exceptional leader."
"We walk in the footsteps of Abu Ammar (Arafat’s name) and adhere to our independent decision-- we can only accept what suits our people," added Alul.
“Arafat's memory is very stressful for our feelings because he is an extraordinary leader," said Mahmoud Arafat, a member of the Fatah Central Committee.
Arafat died on November 11, 2004 at a hospital near Paris due to unknown causes at the age of 75, and he remains a towering figure among Palestinians.
"Yasser Arafat is an inspiring leader, not only for the revolution, but for all liberation movements in the world,” he added.
"We are in the footsteps of Abu Ammar, who are committed to our independent decision, and we can only accept what suits our people," he said, stressing that the Palestinian leadership, in Arafat's memory, is making every effort to restore national unity.
Protesters raised the Palestinian and Fatah movement flags, and pictures of Dahlan and reformist officials, such as Samir Mashharawi.
Egypt and UAE flags were raised as well.