Palestinian Hamas supporters wave green flags during a rally to mark the 23rd anniversary of the group's founding in Gaza City, Tuesday, 14 December 2010. (AP)
Palestinian resistance movement Hamas celebrates its 23rd anniversary by organising a massive rally expecting the participation of tens of thousands of its supporters.
Prime Minister Ismail Haneya will be the keynote speaker in the event and is expected to confirm the movement's readiness for reconciliation as it is the main "strategic option."
Haneya will also remind the public of the movement's consistent vision of a future Palestinian state: namely, not recognising Israel, holding on to Jerusalem and retaining the right of return.
The prime minister is expected to call upon the Palestinian Authority (PA) to stop targeting Hamas in the West Bank and arresting its affiliates in cooperation with the occupation forces. He will also remind the PA of the collapse of the relaunched peace talks and Washington's failed efforts in trying to compel Israel to renew a settlement freeze.
Hamas declared in a statement prepared for the occasion that it has been working on establishing socio-cultural institutions to support the resistance. These establishments are meant to do so by attending to the public's needs.
Hamas indicated that it succeeded in multiplying its number of supporters through the reformist and religious programmes it offers. "They (the programmes) returned the Palestinian national and Islamic identity that various parties along with the occupation have tried to obliterate", the statement said.
The movement also reasserted that Palestine existed before the creation of Israel and is will always remain Palestinian through and through. Hamas added that they will not concede a single inch of the land and will not recognise or consider the notion of an "Israeli state."
Palestinian writer and activist Mustafa Ibrahim criticised Hamas' government in Gaza saying that they restrict the freedoms of their citizen. Ibrahim reportedly stated that the movement's popularity has diminished substantially due to the shutdown of several civil organisations and the numerous political arrests made by its security services. He claimed that Hamas resorted to these measures as retaliation for the PA's actions in the West Bank.
Ibrahim said however that the PA under Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' leadership greatly surpasses Hamas in terms of human rights violations. Nevertheless, he stressed that the PA's inclination to make large scale arrests, torture and confiscate do not justify the Hama's decision to resort to the same methods.
Mohamed Al-Hindy of the Islamic Jihad Movement is expected to give a speech at the rally.