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Palestinian president orders name to be changed to "state of Palestine" following UN bid

The Palestinian president has ordered his government to officially change the name of the Palestinian Authority to "State of Palestine."

The move follows the November decision by the United Nations to upgrade the Palestinians' status to that of a "non-member observer state."

President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday that all official Palestinian stamps, stationery and documents will now bear the new name.

A statement from his office said the move was aimed at enhancing Palestinian "sovereignty on the ground" and was a step on the way to "real independence." Israel still controls most of the West Bank.

Israel objected to the Palestinian statehood bid at the U.N., calling it a unilateral step aimed at bypassing direct peace negotiations. Abbas denied that.

Israel had no comment Sunday.