Palestinians celebrate UN non-member observer state vote
RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) - Palestinians erupted in wild cheers, hugging each other, setting off fireworks and chanting "God is great" after the United Nations granted them, at least formally, what they have long yearned for - a state of their own.
The historic General Assembly decision Thursday to accept "Palestine" as a non-member observer state won't immediately change lives here, since much of the territory of that state - the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem - remains under Israeli control.
Yet many Palestinians savored the massive global recognition - 138 of 193 General Assembly members voted "yes" - following decades of setbacks in the quest for Palestinian independence in lands Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast War.
"It's a great feeling to have a state, even if in name only," said civil servant Mohammed Srour, 28, standing in a flag-waving a crowd of more than 2,000 packed into a square in the West Bank city of Ramallah. "The most beautiful dream of any man is to have an independent state, particularly for us Palestinians who have lived under occupation for a long time."