The fallout from the entry of Palestine into UNESCO continues. In addition to the US, bound by statute, removing their funds for UNESCO, Canada canceled its voluntary funding. The organization’s budget is probably close to 1/4 smaller than it was just a few days ago. And that can’t help but impact UNESCO’s work around the world.
What’s more, Israel has responded, not by targeting the member states that voted for Palestine’s entry, but by thumbing their nose at Palestine:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for the accelerated construction of some 2,000 housing units in areas in the West Bank and around Jerusalem, an official statement said on Tuesday.
The statement came after Netanyahu called a special cabinet session to discuss the granting of full membership to the Palestinians by UNESCO, the U.N. cultural agency, a move opposed by Israel and the United States.
A senior government official said after the meeting that the cabinet had also decided to halt money transfers to the Palestinians Authority as a temporary measure until a final decision was made.
“You can’t demand from the Israeli public to continue to show restraint when the Palestinian leadership continues to slam the door in their face,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
I think he has that the other way around. The door is being slammed in the Palestinian’s face, and has been for over 60 years. Faced with no hope and continued statelessness, the Palestinian Authority embarked on the only leverage they had left. And the result has been more anger and provocation. These are vengeful actions that reflect a pattern of abuse. Juan Cole adds:
As for the fall-out for the United States, an informed reader wrote to remind me that if the Palestinians are welcomed into other UN bodies, the US could well lose substantial influence and have its interests adversely affected. He notes that the International Telecommunication Union allocates radio spectrum usage globally, “including the spectrum reserved for military and commercial use.” The World Health Organization is clearly important to the US for combating epidemics. The World Meteorological Organization is a matrix of information about weather that has agricultural and military implications. The World Intellectual Property Organization recognizes patents and copyrights worldwide.
These sorts of UN organizations, which are, whether Americans want to recognize it or not, important to the United States, could be forced to expel the US and cease sharing information with it if it does not pay its dues. Congress in the 1990s, under the influence of the Israel lobbies, passed a law forbidding the US government from giving money to bodies that recognize Palestine.
If Israel wants to go down the road of an apartheid state, and the attendant global outcry that is sure to follow, they’re doing a good job, and the US is cheering them as they follow that path.