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Palestinians change their name following UN bid

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RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) -- The Palestinian president has ordered his government to officially change the name of the Palestinian Authority to "State of Palestine."

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The move follows the November decision by the United Nations to upgrade the Palestinians' status to that of a "non-member observer state."

President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday that all official Palestinian stamps, stationery and documents will now bear the new name.

A statement from his office said the move was aimed at enhancing Palestinian "sovereignty on the ground" and was a step on the way to "real independence." Israel still controls most of the West Bank.

Israel objected to the Palestinian statehood bid at the U.N., calling it a unilateral step aimed at bypassing direct peace negotiations. Abbas denied that.

Israel had no comment Sunday.

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