RAMALLAH – The triumphant throng of thousands celebrating PA President Mahmoud
Abbas’s return to Ramallah was a joyous expression of the rising popularity of
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Following his application for full UN membership,
Palestinians crowded outside the Presidential Headquarters (Muqataa) on Sunday
afternoon giving Abbas a warm welcome home.
Abbas’s supporters began
gathering at the Muqataa hours before his expected arrival. They danced to
national songs by a local singer and passionately chanted patriotic
“I feel proud of the president, I came from Bethlehem to show my
respect,” Salem, a student, expressed his excitement.
Posters were hung
from the buildings pledging loyalty to the PA president. One of the
posters read “you kept your promise.”
At the entrance of the headquarters
stood an employee holding a metal detector randomly checking entering people.
Another man at the entrance gave people Palestinian flags.
from the US to Jordan, and arrived yesterday amid reports of his desire to
swiftly return to his people.
He placed a garland of flowers on Yasser
Arafat’s mausoleum, and stood on a platform erected specifically for the
Minutes before Abbas’s arrival, politicians stood at the same
platform greeting one another with kisses and hugs as senior officials looked
Abbas stood a few meters in front of Arafat’s mausoleum and
promised that the state will become a reality through peaceful protest and
negotiations – but only after settlements are completely stopped. Abbas was
lively as he talked to people, waving his hands and smiling to
“Hold your heads high with pride, for you are Palestinians,”
he told the gathering. The joyous crowd raised its hands, forming a V for
“He is the first Arabic leader to launch his nation’s ‘spring,’”
Helwa Nijm told The Jerusalem Post.
Abbas said the “Palestinian Spring”
would lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its
The public workers’ union ended work hours at 1 p.m. in order to
allow government employees to attend the rally, whereas the Fatah Party and
PA-run television asked people to give their president the welcome he deserved after his speech Friday.
people wanted to participate today,” Nameer Khalaf told the Post
Israeli checkpoints linking Ramallah to Nablus and Bethlehem held hundreds of
people preventing them from participating in the rally,” he added.
Popular Struggle Front leader Najwa Qablan told the Post
that Palestinians know
better than to be dragged into violence.
“The settlers try to provoke us
by burning our trees and mosques, but we will not fall for that.”
Jayousi said she came all the way from Jenin to support the
president. She said she did not know exactly what the statehood bid was
about, but was happy because the president wants the world to recognize the
The words “hero” and “leader” were used to describe
the president by his supporters.
Abbas received a similar welcoming
earlier this year, after the Qatari Jazeera channel published leaked
confidential documents regarding negotiations with Israel. At that time,
provoked supporters went out to show their solidarity after the Qatari channel
signaled the president betrayed his own people.
The 68-year-old Nasif
Abdo said the Palestinian train is finally on track to becoming a reality. Abdo
does not expect a veto, and said he thinks the US is weaker now, whereas the
Arabs are becoming stronger.
“The Americans failed in pressuring Abbas to
drop the bid,” he said.
On the other hand, Al-Quds University Prof. Saher
Kaabi said he does not expect the resolution to pass.
“I think the
leadership will accept the French proposal if the statehood bid was vetoed,”
Kaabi said. He is confident that nothing will happen on the ground if the
resolution does not pass. “People are expecting the American veto,” Kaabi
The US had announced it would veto the vote at the
However, some thought the US would not need to veto the
Wa’el, 25, believes Palestinians will not have the majority
of nine votes needed for the resolution to pass in the first place.
Palestinians believe they will obtain observer status in the General Assembly, a
position that would allow them to join UN bodies such as the International
Palestinian officials signaled that they would reapply to
the UNSC until they attain full membership.