Fatah's US-trained troops
Fatah's US-trained troopsIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah faction take another step to fight hand in hand with Hamas, which will celebrate in Shechem and let Fatah do the same in Gaza.

Abbas will allow Hamas to stage a festival to mark the terrorist organization’s 25th anniversary, according to the Bethlehem-based Ma'an news agency, which quoted PA legislator Khalil Assaf.

The event is to take place next Thursday in city that is referred to by the PA and most media as Nablus, located in central Samaria.

Hamas also has allowed Fatah to celebrate the 48th year of the terrorist party that founded by Yasser Arafat until Abbas took over after his death eight years ago.

Fatah said the event will take place under the slogan of “statehood and victory.”

The mutual celebrations mark the end of years of bloody fighting, which resulted in Hamas' wresting control from Fatah in Gaza. Abbas and de facto Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh reached a formal unification last year, but it has not been put into force.

Abbas’s unification with Hamas makes him a new ally in the “axis of evil” that links Iran, Syria, Hizbullah, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

The rapidly changing fortunes of Hamas, which suffered serious losses in Israel’s brief Pillar of Defense counterterrorist campaign against missile attacks, and the success of Abbas to win de facto recognition in the UN have promoted the two rivals to join forces.

Abbas is expected to use the unity with Hamas as a basis for claims that the Palestinian Authority now is politically unified and can become an independent country.

However, the unity also makes Abbas a partner in Hamas’s declared aim to destroy Israel, contrary to the Fatah leader’s stated claims that he wants “negotiations” with Israel to establish borders and divide Jerusalem.

Riding high on its diplomatic success, the Palestinian Authority’s senior negotiator Saeb Erekat said on Monday he will urge the international community to pressure Israel to resume talks, on the usual conditions that Israel stop building for Jews in Judea and Samaria and release all PA security prisoners from jail.

Abbas has stated that “negotiations” must be based on Israel’s accepting his territorial and political demands.