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

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake 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.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid