Mahmoud Abbas Gets Hero’s Welcome, Proclaims ‘Palestinian Spring Is Here’

(Majdi Mohammed/AP Photo)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas returned to Ramallah today to a hero’s welcome, after having submitted an application to the United Nations for Palestinian statehood.

Thousands of Palestinians gathered at the Mukataa, the presidential compound, waving flags and hoisting posters of the president, whose popularity has skyrocketed in the last week.

He spoke briefly to the crowd that interrupted with loud applause several times.

“I went to the United Nations carrying your hopes and your dreams and your ambitions and your suffering and your vision, your vision of the future and your needs, your urgent needs,” he said, according to a translation by France24. “The urgent need of an independent Palestinian State.

“We said to the world that there is the Arab Spring but the Palestinian Spring is here also. A popular spring, a spring of resistance, peaceful resistance to obtain these objectives.

“Dear sisters, dear brothers, we say that our journey, our international journey has begun. And a long journey remains ahead. A long path remains to be traveled,” he said, according to the translation. “We must know very precisely there are those blocking our march forward, those who place obstacles, who continue to refuse the right, the legitimacy. … With you we are stronger than everyone to achieve our aspirations.”

There has been a universally negative response from Palestinian officials to the Quartet’s proposal for negotiations — essentially just a timeline, but no official rejection just yet.

The Palestinian foreign minister slammed the proposal Saturday because it doesn’t mention a freeze on the construction of Israeli settlements or an Israeli withdrawal to pre-1967 borderlines. Abbas has said the PLO will start studying the proposal today, meanwhile he said they expect the U.N. Security Council vote on Palestine’s request for statehood recognition within weeks, not months.

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