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Hamas Supporters Rally
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Tens of thousands of Palestinians, bedecked in green and waving green Hamas banners, Friday afternoon demonstrated in the impoverished Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza in support of the six-month-old Hamas cabinet which took office in late March.

"The aim of this demonstration is to send a message to the world and to those in our society that the Palestinian people are standing with their elected government," Hamas lawmaker Mushir al-Masri told the crowd. "We reject the unjust siege imposed on our people and any unseating of the government. We will never recognize the legality of the occupation."

Following Hamas' victory in the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) general eletions, western countries and Israel suspended direct aid due to Hamas refusing to recognize Israel and renounce violence.

Cash-strapped, the new Hamas executive failed to pay full salaries to its 165,000 employees for six months, a crisis exacerbated by Israeli's military offensive in Gaza to retrieve a captive soldier, held since June by Palestinian militants.

In an effort to end the economic embargo, Palestinian factions have tried to form a national unity government instead of the current Hamas government, an issue Hamas seems favorable to. Al-Masri said his movement would "make every effort" to form a national unity cabinet. "We are going to move ahead with the president (Mahmoud Abbas), because there is no choice."

(Xinhua News Agency September 30, 2006)

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