Discuss as:

Palestinians in Ramallah cheer as President Abbas asks the United Nations for statehood

Bernat Armangue / AP

Palestinians in the West Bank city of Ramallah cheer moments before their President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations on Sept. 23, 2011.

Msnbc.com wire services report:

To a round of applause, Abbas held up a copy of the formal membership application and said he had asked U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon to expedite deliberation of his request to have the United Nations recognize a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.

His appeal to the council reflects a loss of faith after 20 years of failed peace talks sponsored by the United States, Israel's main ally, and alarm at relentless Israeli settlement expansion eating into the land Palestinians want for a state.

It also exposed Washington's dwindling influence in a region shaken by Arab uprisings and shifting alliances that have pushed Israel deeper into isolation.  Read more…

Justin Lane / EPA

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas gestures to the crowd as he is applauded after addressing the general debate of the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York.

Related PhotoBlog posts:

As Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas pushes for statehood, the United States is hoping to avoid a dramatic showdown. Meanwhile, tensions have escalated in the West Bank. NBC's Ron Allen reports.