Brain Bush’s Blog

Palestinians and UNESCO

  • By : Brian Bush
  • November 1, 2011
  • 4:53 pm

Hi Everyone,

You probably picked up from Chuck Freeby's news this morning on the Harvest Show that the Palestinian Authority submitted an application to UNESCO (the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization) for full membership.

That application was voted on by the member bodies and passed by a solid majority.

Israel and the United States both opposed Palestinian membership at this time and voted against it.

The US administration is now withholding it's membership dues which compose of 1/5th of the whole organizational budget.

With the UNESCO membership granted, the Palestinians now have their eyes set on joining as a full member another 16 UN agencies, including the World Health Organization, Intellectual Property Organization and Atomic Agency – among other organizations.

After the Palestinians were accepted – Israel considers its steps.

Despite warnings, Result: Washington acted according to US law and halted aid. Israel: Palestinians.

Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu is to convene his 'forum of eight' within his cabinet to discuss Israel's reaction to acceptance of the Palestinian Authority.

Israel feels the PA is violating commitments made to it.

The Palestinians have responded saying Israel should have been the first to congratulate them on their acceptance as the two share a land with a common history and culture.

But Israel's Foreign Ministry released a statement saying; “The Palestinian move at UNESCO, as with similar such steps with other UN bodies, is tantamount to a rejection of the international community's efforts to advance the peace process”.

It has gone on to threaten to cut its ties with UNESCO and with the Palestinian Authority as well.

So what's the big fuss?

UNESCO is best known for its World Heritage Sites – and Membership is seen by Palestinian leaders as part of a broader push to get international recognition and put pressure on Israel.

At the conference held in Paris the Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki told the meeting “This vote will erase a tiny part of the injustice done to the Palestinian people,” after the result was announced.

One of the first anticipated moves for the Palestinians is to apply for world heritage status for sites such as the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

We'll keep you abreast of the developments as they happen – both here and on the Harvest Show – so stay tuned in!

Brian Bush
Middle East Correspondent
LeSEA Broadcasting

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