Wednesday, November 02, 2011


Yesterday the UNESCO Assembly meeting in Geneva voted by a large majority to accept "Palestine" as a new member. This is a strange vote, since "Palestine" is not yet a recognized State within the United Nations, because the Security Council is still considering its application. So how can it be a member of one of the UN's constituent bodies and not of the governing organization. The vote was 107 for, including France, Brazil, China, Russia, India and South Africa,14 against, including Israel, the USA, Canada, Holland and Germany and 52 abstentions, including the UK.

This vote really has nothing to do with the reality of Palestine as an actual State, but has more to do with revolutionary or left-wing politics. All the Arab, Muslim and "third world" countries voted for Palestine, as they vote against Israel in any resolution condemning the Jewish State. They regard Israel as being a "colonialist, occupying" State. Israel rejected the vote as being in opposition to peace, because such a unilateral move awards the Palestinians with something that they have not been able to achieve by the usual processes of international relations, which requires bilateral negotiations with Israel. This has been the modus of the so-called "peace process" since UN resolution 242 after the 1967 war, through the Madrid Conference, the Oslo Agreements, the Road Map of Pres. Bush, the Annapolis meeting, and until very recently. Without agreeing on any of the outstanding issues, this vote allows the Palestinians to evade negotiations with Israel and leaves the status quo unresolved.

The US announced today that due to this decision that it opposed, it will freeze its funding of UNESCO (22%). Israeli FM Liebermann announced that he feels Israel should now also take unilateral steps, for example to annex parts of the West Bank that it considers essential for its security and the protection of its citizens. But, this will probably not be done yet, until the matter is resolved in the UN. If each side takes its own unilateral actions then there will likely be further conflict. Today the Israeli Government announced that the inner Cabinet had decided to accelerate building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and to halt payments of tax revenues to the PA. So this symbolic unilateral step will result in actual losses for both UNESCO and Palestine.


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