There was a warm welcome within the UN General Assembly for the Palestinians’ diplomatic victory.
But behind the applause as the resolution was passed, deep divisions remain after the move to upgrade their status to that of a non-member observer state.
There have been several calls for President Mahmoud Abbas to build on the political success.
At least 17 European nations – including Austria, France, Italy, Norway and Spain – voted in favour of the resolution. Several others including Britain and Germany abstained. The Czech Republic was the only European nation out of nine countries in all to vote against.
In the West Bank where a holiday was declared, outside the Palestinian Authority headquarters the flags were hoisted of countries that backed them at the UN.
In Gaza too people celebrated. The outome is certainly a confidence boost for Palestinians: now they hope it will help their bid for full recognition of a Palestinian state.
“I think my life will change because I’ll be much safer than this moment because I know now that Israeli soldiers can’t come to my town and occupy it whenever they want because we are not yet a nation,” said one resident of Ramallah.
“This is what all martyrs, prisoners and wounded people wished for, this is what the martyr leader Yasser Arafat wished for. Today, yes, we have a Palestinian state, we have the right to exist and to resist, we will continue to resist and fight for all Palestinian land,” said a Palestinian refugee at the Burj al-Barajmeh camp in Lebanon.
Several Western delegations said the UN vote should not be seen as formal legal recognition of a Palestinian state.
The Israelis dismissed it as meaningless.
Britain has called on the US to help break the deadlock in peace talks.