Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, October 2011
Palestine Wins Membership in UNESCO, Despite US-Israeli Pressures
October 31, 2011, 8:30 am ET, international TV stations.
In a revolt against the Zionist hegemony over the world system, most of the governments of the world voted in favor of accepting Palestine as a member state in UNESCO.
The headquarters of the Zionist Empire, the Zionist Apartheid state of Israel, and its main colony, the U.S., tried hard to prevent this development. However, the international revolt happened, even if it is a very small step.
Israel-firsters want the Palestinians to stay under the Israeli military occupation forever, without any human rights or self-determination. They want Palestinians to continue negotiations with the Israeli fascist occupiers, for the sake of negotiations, as they have been doing since 1993, but without any results, timetables, or even references to the negotiations.
In brief, Israel-firsters, who control the US (foreign policy in this case), want Palestinians to stay as slaves of the Israeli Apartheid state. Period.
US cuts UNESCO funding after Palestine vote
By News Wires (text)
France 24, 31/10/2011
US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland (pictured) said Monday the US would cut off funding for UNESCO following the U.N. cultural agency's decision to approve a Palestinian bid for full membership.
The Obama administration is cutting off funding for the U.N. cultural agency because it approved a Palestinian bid for full membership.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says Monday's vote triggers a long-standing congressional restriction on funding to U.N. bodies that recognize Palestine as a state before an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal is reached.
Nuland says UNESCO's decision was ``regrettable, premature and undermines our shared goal to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace'' between Israelis and Palestinians.
She says the U.S. would refrain from making a $60 million payment it planned to make in November.
But Nuland said the U.S. would maintain membership in the body. The Palestinians want full membership in the U.N., but Israel opposes the bid. The U.S. says it would veto a vote in the Security Council.
UN culture agency grants Palestinians full membership
UNESCO member states voted overwhelmingly in favour of Palestinian membership of the UN's cultural agency Monday. The Israeli foreign ministry rejected the decision, saying it would stymie a peace agreement in the region.
By News Wires (text)
AFP - Israel warned that a UNESCO decision on Monday to grant the Palestinians full membership would harm efforts to secure a peace agreement between the two sides.
"Israel rejects the decision of the General Assembly of UNESCO of the 31st October accepting Palestine as a member state of the organisation," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
"This is a unilateral Palestinian manoeuvre which will bring no change on the ground but further removes the possibility for a peace agreement."
The membership resolution, which was put to UNESCO's 193-member general assembly, passed by 107 votes in favour, with 14 against and 52 abstentions, in what constitutes a major symbolic victory on the road to securing full UN membership.
Both Israel and the United States are adamantly opposed to UNESCO's granting the Palestinians membership, which comes just a month after the Palestinians applied for full state membership at the United Nations.
"This decision will not turn the Palestinian Authority into an actual state yet it places unnecessary burdens on the route to renewing negotiations," the ministry said, stressing that the only route to diplomatic progress was through direct negotiations.
"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 said.
Shortly before the vote, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned that Israel would consider "cutting all ties with the Palestinian Authority" if they were accepted into the UN body.
The ministry also said it was "disappointing" that the European Union had not managed to reach a "unified position" to prevent the decision.
The vote looks set to deprive the UN cultural body of nearly a quarter of its annual funding because under a US law passed in the 1990s, Washington cannot fund any UN body which accepts Palestine as a full member.
UNESCO currently receives an annual $70 million from Washington -- or 22 percent of its budget.
Winning membership in the UN's educational, scientific and cultural organisation is not only a diplomatic feather in Palestine's cap -- it will allow them to apply to classify its monuments as World Heritage Sites at a time when the heritage of much of the Holy Land is under dispute.
The vote comes five weeks after Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas submitted a historic request for full state membership at the United Nations, which is due to be debated by the Security Council on November 11.
Washington has vowed to veto the membership bid when it comes up for a vote, in a move which many fear could spark a major anti-US backlash in the Arab and Muslim world at a time of unprecedented political upheaval.
UN culture agency votes on Palestinian membership
UNESCO's general assembly is expected to grant the Palestinian Territories full member status on Monday, a move that will boost their bid for recognition as a UN member state but is opposed by both Israel and the US.
Palestinians expect to win full membership of the U.N.'s cultural agency UNESCO on Monday in a vote that will boost their bid for recognition as a state at the United Nations, Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said on Sunday.
UNESCO is the first U.N. agency the Palestinians have sought to join as a full member since President Mahmoud Abbas applied for full membership of the United Nations on Sept. 23.
The diplomatic move is opposed by Israel and the United States, which also opposes the Palestinian bid for membership of UNESCO. But that won't matter if the Palestinians win the support of two thirds of UNESCO's 193 members at a general conference in Paris
"I expect that the voting will happen and that Palestine will get the number of votes required for membership," Maliki told Reuters. "We have enough votes to get over the two-thirds barrier."
Admission will be seen by the Palestinians as a moral victory in their bid for full U.N. membership.
Washington, which has the power to veto such applications, opposes the Palestinian bid for a full U.N. seat on the grounds it is unhelpful to efforts to revive peace talks with Israel, the last round of which broke down a year ago.
Israel's closest international ally, the United States has said it will use its veto power in the Security Council to quash the bid for full U.N. membership, were it brought to a vote.
But UNESCO is one of the U.N. agencies the Palestinians can join as a full member regardless of their broader status at the United Nations, where they are currently classified as "an observer entity".
"This success, if it is realised, and with this large number of votes, will give a great boost to the efforts that we are making to get the required vote in the United Nations," Malki said in separate remarks to Voice of Palestine radio.
Palestinian success could bring a financial cost for UNESCO. Under U.S. law, Palestine's admission as a full UNESCO member would trigger a cutoff in U.S. funding which accounts for 22 percent of the agency's funding.
Israel has said the Palestinian bid would amount to politicisation of the agency that would undermine its ability to carry out its mandate.
Pressing ahead regardless
Malki said U.S. officials cited the threat to UNESCO funding while seeking to dissuade the Palestinians from proceeding with their bid for membership.
"We made clear to them that any proposal must be based on a fundamental point: the acceptance of the membership of the state of Palestine in UNESCO," Malki said, signalling the Palestinian determination to go ahead regardless.
Pressure from the United States and other world powers has in the past dissuaded the Palestinians from seeking the rights of full state members of U.N. agencies such as UNESCO.
The Palestinians' determination to press ahead now signals a new approach in steering their quest for statehood, two decades since the beginning of the peace process which they hoped would bring them independence.
The United States says talks with Israel remain the only way for the Palestinians to reach their goal. The Palestinians, in turn, argue that talks have failed to bring them closer to their goal of independence in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem -- land occupied by Israel in a 1967 war.
The Palestinians have yet to formally decide what they will do once their bid for full U.N. membership is decided. One option is to seek a resolution from the General Assembly that would upgrade their U.N. status to "a non-member state".
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