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Abbas celebrated by large crowds upon arrival to West Bank

About 5000 people gathered outside his office chanting and flying the Palestinian flag.

abbas west bank arrivalEnlarge
The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has returned home to the West Bank with throngs of people cheering his arrival. (Abbas Momani/AFP/Getty Images)

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas returned to the West Bank on Sunday after a successful bid to gain non-member status at the UN.

The Associated Press reported that about 5000 people gathered outside his office chanting and flying the Palestinian flag.

Many Palestinians believe that the non-member status will give them more power during peace talks with Israel.

Abbas spoke to the crowd about what many believe is a turning point in Palestinian history.

“Palestine has accomplished a historic achievement at the UN,” Abbas told to the crowd, AFP reported.

“The world said in a loud voice… yes to the state of Palestine, yes to Palestine’s freedom, yes to Palestine’s independence, no to aggression, no to settlements, no to occupation,” Abbas told the crowd.

The UN bid was a triumph for the embattled Abbas whose leadership among Palestinians has been shifting toward the more militant Hamas.

Abbas lost a bid last year to win full state membership at the UN after the US blocked the proposal in the Security Council.

Israel has retaliated against the UN decision, announcing that it would withhold $100 million owed to the Palestinian government.

It also announced plans to build thousands of new settlements in the West Bank on ultra-sensitive land near Jerusalem.

More from GlobalPost: Palestinians celebrate UN vote (PHOTOS)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/israel-and-palestine/121202/abbas-celebrated-large-crowds-upon-arr