Palestinians take to streets to cheer UN statehood vote
RAMALLAH/GAZA - Thousands of flag-waving Palestinians set off fireworks and danced in the streets on Thursday to celebrate a United Nations General Assembly vote granting de facto recognition of a sovereign Palestinian state.
In Bethlehem, the bells of the Church of the Nativity peeled in honor of the vote, and thousands of people crowded around to watch a live broadcast of PA President Mahmoud Abbas's speech in New York projected on the concrete of the separation wall.
"I feel we are living a historic day, the birth of the state of Palestine," said Suha Awadallah, wearing a black and white keffiyeh, in Ramallah, the de facto Palestinian capital.
In a rare show of unity, Abbas's Islamist rivals Hamas, who have ruled Gaza since a brief civil war in 2007, let supporters of the president's Fatah movement hold rallies there.