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The Mideast

Palestinian president returns to hero's welcome


Nov. 29, 2012: Members of the Palestinian delegation react as they surround Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, center, applauding, during a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly after a vote on a resolution on the issue of upgrading the Palestinian Authority's status to non-member observer state passed in the United Nations in New York. (AP)

The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has returned home to a hero's welcome after winning a resounding endorsement for Palestinian independence at the United Nations.

Some 5,000 people thronged a square Sunday outside Abbas' government headquarters in the West Bank. Many hoisted Palestinian flags and balloons in the colors of the flag.

Abbas told the crowd that "we now have a state" and that "the world has said loudly, `yes to the state of Palestine."'

The U.N. decision to recognize Palestine as a nonmember observer state does not change the situation on the ground.

The Palestinians believe the strong endorsement will boost their leverage in future peace talks.