The Jordan Times (Editorial)
October 31, 2011 - 12:00am

The US threat to stop supporting UNESCO financially if it votes for the admission of Palestine as a full member amounts, simply, to blackmail.
Washington has been taking an actively hostile position on the Palestinian quest for recognition as an independent state by international organisations; now it is UNESCO’s turn to come under direct pressure from the US, acting as a proxy for Israel, of course.

The US and the European Union are reportedly in a flurry of diplomatic activity to at least delay the vote on the admission of Palestine to this UN organisation. The vote is to be cast this week in Paris; it is expected that a majority of nations will vote in support of the Palestinians’ application bid.

This is not the first time the US seeks to use its financial clout to put pressure on international organisations. It will probably, and unfortunately, not be the last either.

In 1990, the US Congress passed a law stipulating that the country can stop funding any UN agency that gives the Palestine Liberation Organisation nation-state status. One would have thought, however, that this “impartial” mediator has, by now, transcended the way it perceives an organisation willing to negotiate peace with Israel and if not amend the law, at least not feel compelled to comply with it blindly.

It is not to be. And being the major UNESCO funder, the US’ withholding funds could indeed be detrimental to this UN agency.

Instead of resorting to blackmail, the US would better invest its efforts in pressuring Israel to change its policy and free the Palestinian territories it has occupied for decades.

Palestinian membership in UNESCO, or in any other international organisation for that matter, does not pose a threat to Israel’s security and national interest. On the contrary, a UNESCO-member Palestine would be subject to the charter of this international organisation, and considering the scope of its activity, that would be beneficial to all.

There is nothing to fear from Palestine’s UNESCO membership. Israel’s stubborn stand is only another malicious stand, readily espoused by a compliant, cowed US.

The vote and subsequent US action will soon corroborate such thoughts. We, however, would gladly accept to be proven wrong.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017