Members of the UN General Assembly applaud after voting in favor of a UN resolution on Palestine in New York City. AFP
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas returned to the West Bank on Sunday after winning upgraded UN status for the Palestinians, telling cheering crowds: "Yes, now we have a state".
"Palestine has accomplished a historic achievement at the UN," Abbas said, three days after the United Nations General Assembly granted the Palestinians non-member state observer status in a 138-9 vote.
"The world said in a loud voice... yes to the state of Palestine, yes to Palestine's freedom, yes to Palestine's independence, no to violence, no to settlements, no to occupation," Abbas told the ecstatic crowd.
Abbas pledged that after the victory at the United Nations, his "first and most important" task would be working to achieve Palestinian unity and reviving efforts to reconcile rival factions Fatah and Hamas.
"We will study over the course of the coming days the steps necessary to achieve reconciliation," he said, as the crowd chanted "The people want the end of the division."