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. (Read more Abbas stories.)