Abbas Hails 'Palestinian Spring' in Hero's Welcome

Triumphant president returns home
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 25, 2011 8:41 AM CDT
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas holds a letter requesting recognition of Palestine as a state as he addresses the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Friday, Sept. 23, 2011 at UN...   (Richard Drew)
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(Newser) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has received a hero's welcome in the West Bank, triumphantly telling his people the "Palestinian Spring" has begun following his historic speech to the UN last week. Abbas asked the world body on Friday to recognize Palestinian independence, defying appeals from Israel and the United States to return to peace talks.

The speech has transformed Abbas, who widely been viewed as a bland bureaucrat, into a hero. The 76-year-old leader repeatedly shook and waved his hands to the crowd during his brief speech today. Haaretz notes that Abbas is redefining Palestinian leadership: He's democratically elected, against violence, and unafraid to go toe-to-toe with America.

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