Hope turns to frustration among Palestinian crowd

RAMALLAH, West Bank - At the United Nations Friday, the Palestinians took a historic step in their long quest for statehood. President Mahmoud Abbas asked the U.N. for full membership -- envisioning a Palestinian state based on borders set before Israel won the 1967 War.

But there's not likely to be a Palestinian nation anytime soon: The United States says it will veto the Palestinian request in the Security Council.

Win or lose at the U.N., CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips reports the Palestinian leadership was determined to throw a victory party -- and that's what it looked like in Ramallah's Arafat Square.

The mood was jubilant as the crowd gathered to watch the U.N. speeches on a big screen. They may have known the statehood idea was dead on arrival because of the threatened U.S. veto. but they also knew they had dominated the U.N. agenda.

As they arrived, they knew who they blamed for the failure.

"The picture is clear," said Mehdi Masri, a West Bank resident. "The American government stands exactly beside the Israeli."

Palestinians make formal statehood bid at U.N.
Palestinians rally upon submission of U.N. bid

Managing failure was always going to be difficult and already there have been worrying outbreaks of violence and, ominously, one death.

On the West Bank, Israeli soldiers moved in after Jewish settlers attacked the Arab village of Qusra. The villagers fought back, throwing stones. The soldiers fired tear gas and live rounds at them, killing a man. His death has already become a Palestinian rallying cry.

Elsewhere, at a major Israeli checkpoint, the ritual Friday riot took on new urgency. Here, the confrontation was limited to rocks and tear gas, but it went on for hours. The Palestinian leadership says it's still committed to a non-violent path, but that may be difficult to sustain.

Hope has turned to frustration here and with it comes the first signs that the frustration could lead to a new round of violence. The danger was always of raising expectations that couldn't be met.

The frustration took another form as well. When Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's U.N. speech was shown on the big screen, the crowd reverted to a classic Arab insult: They threw shoes at him.

  • Mark Phillips

    Mark Phillips is CBS News senior foreign correspondent, based in London.