APTOPIX Mideast Israel Palestinians

December 2, 2012 - 2:33 PM
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, center, is surrounded by children during celebrations for the successful bid to win U.N. statehood recognition for Palestine in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012. Abbas has returned home to a hero's welcome after winning a resounding endorsement for Palestinian independence at the United Nations. Israel on Sunday roundly rejected the United Nations' endorsement of an independent state of Palestine, announcing it would withhold more than $100 million collected for the Palestinian government to pay debts to Israeli companies and earlier said it would start drawing up plans to build thousands of settlement homes. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)