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Divisions exposed as Palestinians honour Arafat

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Divisions exposed as Palestinians honour Arafat

Divisions exposed as Palestinians honour Arafat
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As Palestinians mark the 4th anniversary of the death of Yasser Arafat the two main factions appear united in honouring their late president, but little else.

Arafat’s successor and leader of the Fatah movement, Mahmoud Abbas, led the memorial ceremonies in Ramallah in the West Bank. He had harsh words for the rival Hamas group that wrestled control of Gaza from Fatah more than a year ago.

“Brothers and sisters, Hamas does not want dialogue. Look at what is happening in the Gaza Strip today. Why are they preventing a gathering like this in Gaza?” he said in his address.

Over the weekend Hamas pulled out of planned unity talks, demanding that Abbas first release their prisoners being held in the West Bank. The Islamist group blames Abbas for the deepening rift. “This speech (by President Abbas) does not reflect any good intentions on the part of President Mahmoud Abbas for a successful future of the Palestinian national dialogue,” a spokesman said.