News / Middle East

UNESCO to Vote on Palestinian Membership

UNESCO's 36th General Conference, in Paris, Tuesday Oct. 25, 2011.
UNESCO's 36th General Conference, in Paris, Tuesday Oct. 25, 2011.

Palestinians expect to win full membership at the United Nations cultural agency UNESCO as early as Monday, in a vote that would boost their bid for international recognition as an independent state.

Paris-based UNESCO is the first U.N. agency the Palestinians have sought to join since President Mahmoud Abbas applied last month for full recognition of Palestinian statehood by the General Assembly of all U.N. members.

A two-thirds vote by the 193 members of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is needed for membership, and the Palestinians are expected to garner a large majority in support of their application.

However, a Palestinian success in Paris could be costly for UNESCO.  U.S. law prohibits Washington from funding any U.N.-affiliated body that accepts Palestinian membership.  The U.S. currently is UNESCO's biggest funding source by far, supplying 22 percent of the agency's budget.

The Palestinian bid has triggered a frantic lobbying effort by American diplomats asking UNESCO members to reject the application.  

Israel also opposed adding the Palestinians to the ranks of UNESCO members.

The Financial Times quotes UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova as warning against U.S. "disengagement" from the organization, arguing that it supports "core U.S. interests" in a number of key countries, including Afghanistan and Iraq.

If the application is successful, Palestinian officials say they will call on UNESCO to recognize key monuments in the occupied Palestinian territories as world heritage sites.  These include the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, built over the place where Jesus is believed to have been born.

In the Gaza Strip Sunday, an Israeli airstrike along the southern border with Egypt killed a Palestinian militant as he prepared to fire a rocket into Israel.

The attack came just hours after Islamic Jihad and other radical Palestinian groups in Gaza had announced they would accept an Egyptian-mediated truce to end days of deadly violence - as long as Israel reciprocated.

Then, just before nightfall, Gaza militants fired another rocket into southern Israel.

From New York, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon condemned the rocket incident and urged "maximum Israeli restraint."  European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton also called for calm, saying she "wholeheartedly condemns the indiscriminate targeting of civilians, wherever they are."

Earlier Sunday, Gaza militants fired about 10 rockets into southern Israel, and Israeli aircraft responded with attacks on several militant sites. Israel closed schools within 40 kilometers of Gaza as a precaution.

On Saturday, Israel's airstrikes killed nine Islamic Jihad members in Gaza - one of the deadliest incidents in and around the Palestinian territory in months. The militant group fired about 20 rockets into southern Israel Saturday, killing one Israeli civilian.  

Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since 2007, has avoided direct involvement in the latest round of fighting, but Hamas officials have not criticized their more radical rivals for attacking Israel.

You May Like

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid