Middle East

'Palestine' to be used in West Bank public documents

Archive photo of Palestinians holding placards of Mahmoud Abbas, 2 December 2012
Image caption Mahmoud Abbas got a hero's welcome in the West Bank after winning an upgraded status at the UN

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has told West Bank officials to prepare to put the words "State of Palestine" on public documents, official media say.

Until now passports, ID cards, driving licences and other documents have been stamped "Palestinian Authority".

In November, Mr Abbas led a successful campaign for the UN to upgrade the Palestinians' status to that of a non-member observer state.

The status was previously that of a non-member observer entity.

In a decree carried on Sunday by the official Wafa news agency, Mr Abbas said the move on labelling public documents would help bolster the Palestinian state "on the ground and build its institutions... and its sovereignty over the its land".

Last week, Mr Abbas ordered the foreign ministry and embassies to start using "State of Palestine" in official correspondence, Agence France-Presse reported.

There was no immediate reaction from Israel.

Israel opposed the UN status change, and in response suspended the transfer of tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority in December.

The PA, headed by Mr Abbas, governs the West Bank. It is heavily dependent on tax revenues that Israel collects on its behalf.