The large rally, held on the grounds of the Mukata headquarters of the Palestinian Authority, was attended by thousands of supporters. In addition to an anniversary event, the rally was seen as a Fatah show of strength in the battle with Hamas for public support in the PA.



Accompanied by leading members of the Fatah terror group, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas addressed the crowd. After placing flowers on the grave of arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat, Abbas said, "We have turned guns on the occupation, and that is our legitimate right - but to turn the guns on each other is forbidden."



Abbas condemned Israel for its recent counter-terrorist operations in Ramallah and Gaza. He also was careful to call upon all the PA factions and militias to adhere to what he characterized as "the laws of Islam" and avoid killing innocent individuals.



Saying that internecine violence in Gaza served no one's interests, Abbas called on Fatah faction members to refrain even from insulting the Hamas terrorist group. The two terror groups have been battling in the streets of Gaza for control of the PA government since Hamas was elected to the leadership a year ago, with a sharp increase in violence in recent weeks.



The PA leader also indicated his opposition to the establishment of a Palestinian state with interim borders, as called for by the Road Map to Peace promoted by the Quartet - the US, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations. An interim PA state is phase two in the Road Map's three-phase plan for a final settlement of the Arab-Israel conflict.



Also addressing the Fatah anniversary rally in Ramallah was Israeli-Arab Knesset Member Ahmed Tibi (Ra'am-Ta'al). Tibi called upon all PA factions to unite, and said the struggle would continue until the conquest of Jerusalem by the Arabs.



"The Palestinian struggle will continue until the liberation of all the Palestinian lands and the establishment of a Palestinian state on all the lands occupied in 1967 - chief among them, holy Jerusalem!" MK Tibi declared.



Though Fatah was founded in the late 1950s, the Ramallah rally was held to mark the first terrorist attack carried out against Israel by the organization, on January 1, 1965. The intended target was Israel's national water supply system, but the bombing was prevented by Israeli security officers.