Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas made history in his people’s long quest for statehood as he formally asked the United Nations on Friday to admit Palestine as a full member state.
Snubbing fierce opposition from Israel and its regional ally the United States, Abbas handed the application letter to UN chief Ban Ki-moon at 11:35am buoyed by more than 120 nations which have already recognised a Palestinian state.
"The American administration did everything in its power to disrupt our project, but we are going through with it despite the obstacles and the pressure because we are asking for our rights," Abbas said late Thursday.
Reaction from Israel was swift, with a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu telling AFP, "We regret the step."
Ban will now pass the landmark request to the UN Security Council.