Palestinians in Gaza and W. Bank call for unity
Thousands of Palestinians marched in Gaza City and the West Bank on Tuesday calling for an end to the domestic division. The biggest gathering was in Gaza City, where officials from the Hamas-run interior ministry said "tens of thousands" had gathered into the city's Square of the Unknown Soldier.
On his part, Gaza's Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya publicly invited his bitter Fatah rival, Palestinian Authority president Mahmud Abbas, for "immediate" unity talks in Gaza.
"I invite the president, brother Abu Mazen (Abbas), and Fatah to an immediate meeting here in Gaza... to start national dialogue in order to achieve reconciliation," Haniya said after an emergency meeting of his government.
And Abbas proposed holding elections "as soon as possible" in order to end the rift. "I am with the people and in favour of going back to the people to put an end to the divisions through presidential and parliamentary elections," he said, according to AFP.
The Gaza Strip protests were marred by clashes between Hamas activists and hundreds of others in which stones were thrown and three people were hurt.
The rallies, called by the March 15 protest movement, were planned through Facebook by young activists demanding an end to the internal division.
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