After the UN General Assembly has voted overwhelmingly to recognize Palestine as a non-member observer state - a move strongly opposed by Israel and the US, hundreds of Palestinians celebrated on the streets of Ramallah in the West Bank and Gaza after the result was announced.
This scene would have been impossible four years ago. Now, Fatah flags fly high in Hamas territory.
Hamas seized the Gaza Strip from Abbas in 2007, and the two sides have been unable to heal their rift. However, Hamas allowed thousands to march in Gaza in support of Abbas
Top Hamas and Islamic Jihad officials welcomed the recognition of Palestine as a non-member state at the United Nations, describing it as diplomatic victory
Hamas had previously opposed the move, as it has always sensitive to public opinion, now it has shifted from criticizing the plan to saying they would not stand in the way
National unity has become a rallying cause for Palestinian statehood following Israel's last assault on Gaza.
in January 2006, Hamas was democratically elected in a landslide vote. The election was monitored and condoned by international observers as free and fair.
However, the US and Israel refused to accept Hamas as the governing force in gaza, imposing international sanctions, a siege and turning fatah, the ruling government in the west bank against Hamas. Immediately, violence broke out between both Palestinian rival factions, leaving both sides divided.
The statehood vote at the UN which came just days after more than 170 Palestinians were killed in an Israeli-led attack on the Gaza strip has brought both sides closer
The diplomatic, political and legal leverage gained by Palestine will enable Palestine to defend itself on a number of fronts – by having access to the International Criminal Court and file complaints against Israel for decades of human rights abuses.
Israel and the US condemned the UN bid, saying the only genuine route to statehood for the Palestinians is via a peace agreement made in direct talks with Israel. But Palestinians say that it's not for any country to get the Palestinians to relinquish their rights