Palestinians awarded full membership in UNESCO


UNESCO delegates stand and cheer after approving Palestinian membership
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

Palestine has become a full member of the UN cultural and educational agency in a move that the United States and other opponents say could harm renewed Middle East peace efforts.

The US had threatened to withhold roughly $80 million in annual funding to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) if it approved Palestinian membership. The United States provides about 22% of Unesco’s funding.

Which is about how the average mafia functions. Extortion doesn’t make for lasting politics.

Huge cheers went up in Unesco after delegates approved the membership by 107 votes to 14 with 52 abstentions. Eighty-one votes were needed for approval in a hall with 173 Unesco member delegations present.

“Long live Palestine!” shouted one delegate, in French, at the unusually tense and dramatic meeting of Unesco’s general conference.

While the vote has large symbolic meaning, the issues of borders of an eventual Palestinian state, security troubles and other disputes that have thwarted Middle East peace for decades remain unresolved.

Palestinian officials are seeking full membership in the United Nations, but that effort is still under examination and the US has said it will veto it unless there is a peace deal with Israel. Given that, the Palestinians separately sought membership at Paris-based Unesco and other UN bodies…

The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, last week called Unesco’s deliberation “inexplicable”, saying discussion of Palestinian membership of international organisations could not replace negotiations with Israel as a fast track towards Palestinian independence.

There is no “fast track” towards Palestinian independence if you think that honorable and ethical negotiations will be forthcoming from Israel’s ruling politicians. They hold power from a commitment to manifest destiny and lebensraum.

There is no “fast track” as long as the train dispatcher deals only in American dollars dedicated to short-term and long-term goals decided essentially by Israeli politicians. There is little or no attention paid to the needs of the displaced nation of Palestine.

History and historic decisions aren’t resolved in press releases from the State Department. Especially those offered in support of imperial occupying armies.

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