Middle East

Palestinians in West Bank react to UN success

Palestinians have been celebrating the upgrade of their representation at the United Nations. On Wednesday night, 138 members of the General Assembly voted to give them the status of a non-member observer state.

It is being seen as a success for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, whose Fatah faction governs most Palestinian areas of the West Bank.

However the diplomatic initiative was also welcomed by his political rivals Hamas, the Islamist group that governs the Gaza Strip.

The BBC's Yolande Knell and Yousef Shomali have been asking people in Ramallah for their views on the change at the UN.

Rasha, mother

For sure we are looking at which countries voted with us for Palestine as an observer state because it's our right to be recognised.

We have human rights like the people of any other country to have a homeland. Israel came and occupied it.

The world cannot deny this fact that Palestine is our homeland and it's our right to have a state here.

Now we must go forward with asking for our other demands to be met. The struggle with Israel goes on.

Shorouk al-Assad, Palestinian journalist

We've been saying to the whole world that it's time that we have a Palestinian state. We waited for this for so long.

We know that the occupation won't end straight away but at least now we feel that we have an alternative. We want to live freely like any other state in the world.

For a long time the United States alone has been saying how things should go.

Now we have all these other states saying that Palestine should exist on its 1967 borders with East Jerusalem.

Of course we have been following which countries are standing by us.

I was so happy to hear that France and Spain supported us and so mad to hear that Britain did not and was pressuring to change the resolution

I was also so happy to see [the Palestinian factions] Fatah and Hamas working together.

Maybe this will be an internal political step to end the conflict between them.

I think if we go forward now with internal unity and a strategy of peaceful protest then we can make changes. Up to now everything else around us in the region is changing except us.

Wafaa, policewoman

The Palestinian people, the government and the security forces support each step that the president takes with all our hearts.

All the Palestinian cities had celebrations and there will be more later.

It's important for us and it's a big moment to move from just having the Palestinian Authority to having a state.

This is the right of the Palestinian people.

The international community says that we look like a state because we now have a professional police force for example.

But we aren't officially recognised as a state. The UN is important to give us this official title.

Suhaib Allawi, student

This is an acceptance of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders.

Of course we joined in the celebrations. We have to support our country. People are happy. They've been having parties.

All the Palestinian people were watching Abu Mazen [President Abbas] on the television. They'd been waiting for this moment to see what he could achieve.

I think this meets some of our demands but not all of them.

At the end, what Israel and America want is what will happen. It's not what the Palestinian people want to happen.

Jabar Abdul Rahman, retired man

We hope this will be good for peace.

We have the support of many other countries.

Of course America was against President Abbas.

They always stand with Israel and they are not doing anything to end the occupation.

God willing all the other Arab states will now help us to raise our issues. We are losing our land.

We hope to have an independent Palestinian state but in reality it's still a long way off.

Saher Dukan, businessman

This is a national day for us. We should celebrate this day. It's a step forward for the future of our state.

The Jews are occupying our land. We are not occupying their land.

This move can help us internationally for example we should be able to take legal steps to accuse Israel of war crimes at the International Criminal Court.

I believe this is more positive than last year.

The next step for the leadership is to speak to the countries who didn't vote for us as it's important to have international support.

We must win them around by explaining our situation so that next time they vote with us.

America's decision [to oppose the UN resolution] is a real shame. They've been calling for regime change in the Arab Spring and greater democracy. They are on the wrong side.

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