Palestinians won entry to UNESCO on Monday, scoring a symbolic victory in their battle for full UN membership, prompting the US to cut its funding to the body and warn with ally Israel that the move harmed hopes for peace.
“The general conference decides to admit Palestine as a member of UNESCO,” said the resolution that was adopted to loud applause by 107 countries, with 14 voting against and 52 abstaining.
“Accepting Palestine into UNESCO is a victory for (our) rights, for justice and for freedom,” Mahmud Abbas’ spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina quoted the Palestinian president as saying.
Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Malki, who was at the UN cultural body’s Paris headquarters for the vote, hailed “a historic moment that gives Palestine back some of its rights,” while Israel said it distanced peace.
“This is a unilateral Palestinian manoeuvre which will bring no change on the ground but further removes the possibility for a peace agreement,” the Israeli foreign ministry said in a statement.
The United States said it would cut its funding to the international body, which amounts to about 22 percent of UNESCO’s annual budget.
Nuland said the Palestinian admission “triggers longstanding (US) legislative restrictions which will compel the United States to refrain from making contributions to UNESCO.”
The United States, Israel’s top ally, in the 1990s banned the financing of any UN organization that accepts Palestine as a full member.
Following the vote, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton had urged nations to maintain their support for UNESCO.
“This is about peace, identity, culture, heritage and freedom of expression,” she said. “The EU therefore urges all parties to pause for reflection before taking precipitate actions.”
France, which had voiced serious doubts about the motion, in the end approved it along with almost all Arab, African, Latin American and Asian nations, including China and India.
Besides Israel and the United States, Canada, Australia and Germany voted against it, while Japan and Britain abstained.
Israel’s ambassador Nimrod Barkan slammed countries that “have adopted a science fiction version of reality by admitting a non-existent state to the science organisation…. UNESCO should deal in science not science fiction.”
The United States has made good on its threat to cut off funding to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) following the Paris-based agency’s vote Monday to accept the Palestinian Authority as a member.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland announced at a briefing Monday the administration had no choice in the matter, and would not make its $60 million payment in November to the agency.
A longstanding law that prohibits U.S. support for any United Nations-affiliated body that accepts Palestinian Authority membership precludes funding the international body, she said.
At present, Washington provides 22 percent of UNESCO’s budget – its largest source of funds.
Our stalwart Canadian friends are also reconsidering their role in UNESCO, who must bear in mind that Canada contributes $10 million annually.
Israel too is considering all its options, including “green-lighting sensitive housing projects”.
Israel is considering approving several “sensitive” housing plans in response to UNESCO’s Monday vote admitting the Palestinian Authority as a full member in the organization.
The controversial vote prompted Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to announce that Israelwould “review its relations” with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization; and the United States announced it was suspending the financial support given to the agency.
A short sharp reminder of why the Palestinians should not have been admitted into UNESCO (existent state or not) is provided by an NGO monitoring tolerance in school education:
The Palestinian Authority does not meet the UNESCO recommendations for becoming a full member in the international organization, according to a study published on Monday by IMPACT-SE – the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education.
IMPACT-SE is a research organization that monitors and analyzes schoolbooks and curricula across the Middle East with an eye toward determining their compliance with international standards on peace and tolerance, a goal derived directly from UNESCO declarations and resolutions.
“The monitoring of the Palestinian schoolbooks in use for the school year 2011 shows that the fundamentals against Israel and the Jews are upheld,” the study concluded.
It said that the fundamentals included negating both Israel and the Jews.
Israel, for example, is not mentioned among the states of the Levant (which presently consists of the states of Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria as well as the Palestinian territories) and Jewish holy places are never mentioned as such. For instance, Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem is presented as the Bilal bin Rabah Mosque.
According to the study, the Jewish and Hebrew identity of Palestine under the British Mandate is stricken out. One illustration twists a stamp of Palestine under the British Mandate by erasing the Hebrew term ERETZ ISRAEL PALESTINA.
The study also found that there was continued demonization of both Israel and the Jews in the books. Jews are described, among others, as violating treaties, getting rich unduly, deceitful, murdering children, disemboweling women and invading snakes. They are never presented in neutral or positive terms.
“The Oslo accords and the Declaration of Principles are mentioned and even quoted, but they are not praised and a peacefully negotiated settlement is not advocated or supported,” said the authors of the study.
“In contrast, there is a lot of praise for jihad and martyrdom to free Palestine without defining clearly the territory to be liberated, hence implying that Israel’s territory is also to be liberated.”
The Shoah is not mentioned at all, though one ambiguous passage reads as follows: “The Jewish question is first and foremost a European problem.”
If UNESCO considers all that mis-education and brainwashing “culture and heritage” perhaps they deserve to have “Palestine” pollute their organization.
Elder of Ziyon has a couple of posts about Palestinian “culture” and why they do not belong in UNESCO. The picture at the top of this post was in one of his articles; here is another brilliant creation of his in the other article: