News / Middle East

UNESCO Vote for Palestinians Stirs Debate

Palestinian boy holds a flag in the West Bank city of Hebron, Sept. 21, 2011 (file photo).
Palestinian boy holds a flag in the West Bank city of Hebron, Sept. 21, 2011 (file photo).
Lisa Bryant

The United States announced on Monday that it would cut funding to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, after members approved full Palestinian membership. The move gives a boost to the Palestinians' bid for statehood recognition.

A month after applying for full United Nations membership, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas won a smaller victory, full membership at one U.N. agency, the Paris-based United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Delegates approved Palestinian membership to UNESCO by a vote of 107 to 14.  Fifty-two countries abstained; Israel and the United States voted against. Arab countries helped carry the vote, following an appeal to UNESCO members by Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki.  France and Russia also voted in favor.

Al-Maliki said a vote for Palestine was a vote for what is right, for justice and for the future.  But Washington later announced it was withholding payment due in November to UNESCO, although it said it would remain a member.

U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO David Killion said Palestinian membership to the body will complicate American support for UNESCO. "The only path to the Palestinian state that we all seek is through direct negotiations.  There are no short cuts and we believe efforts such as the one we have witnessed today are counter-productive," he said.

But Middle East analyst Nadim Shehadi of the London policy institute Chatham House says that rather than stalling the Middle East peace process, the UNESCO vote,  and the larger Palestinian effort to gain full United Nations recognition, might energize it. "In my view, the U.N. bid can cause a game change in the peace process.  To move the process away from deadlock of the final status issues and  basically move ahead," he said.

Shehadi believes the Arab Spring revolts in the region will also add to the momentum. "My reading is that the [Arab] population wants to move on.  That the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has been there for too long."

The United Nations Security Council will take further steps on the Palestinians' membership application in November.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines 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.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid