Palestine obtains UNESCO membership



Perhaps as their first ever victory for their persuasive diplomacy since they were colonized, and besieged by the Israeli criminal regime that was imposed by the western terrocracies on Palestine lands, the Palestinians have been admitted to UNESCO- the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation- as a full member.

On 5th October the board of the UN cultural agency UNESCO cleared way for Palestinian membership vote as a member. They have, by ignoring the US protests and “concerns”, agreed to put a Palestinian bid for full membership to member states for approval. Despite the US diplomacy of threat and intimidation, bolstered by threatening punitive action in the form of refusing further financial support for UNESCO, in an emotion-charged session at UNESCO`s Paris headquarters, 107 states voted in favour of Palestine’s admission as against 14 nays, with 52 abstentions. The vote could pave the way for the Palestinian Authority’s admission to the world body’s other specialized agencies. The UN body’s membership will also enable the PA to ask UNEESCO to give world heritage status to Islamic and Christian holy sites in the occupied territories.

The Palestinians have had observer status at UNESCO since 1974. UNESCO membership would allow Palestinians to apply to classify their monuments as World Heritage Sites at a time when the heritage of much of the region is under dispute. Two-thirds of members attending the UNESCO general conference from 25 October to 10 November will have to approve the bid in order for it to be successful. The bid will now be put to all 193 member states.

It is a further step in the campaign by Palestinian diplomats for formal recognition as a state. UNESCO membership is considered as a step toward full UN membership. In September pro-west Palestinian (Fatah) President Mahmoud Abbas formally applied for full membership in the UN, and that bid is now inching through the procedural channels. Now Palestinians are pursuing parallel, potentially faster strategies to secure international recognition.

But their campaign is fiercely opposed by the US, Israel and France, who impose their view that only negotiations with Israel can achieve an independent Palestinian state. France, which abstained on the motion, said "it was not the time" for Palestinians to pursue UNESCO membership. Israeli UNESCO ambassador Nimrod Barkan said the move would harm the agency and not advance Palestinian aspirations.

Having failed to employ its manipulative triclomacy against Palestine, Israel called the UNESCO vote a “unilateral Palestinian manoeuvre” which will have no impact on ground realities. It was not entirely unexpected given the Zionist trends.

Feeling growingly nervous about the possibility of emergence of an independent Palestine even without US assistance, America announced it was cancelling all funding to UNESCO. Calling the membership “premature”, the White House agreed with the Israeli claim that UNESCO decision undermined the peace process.

The move was opposed by the US administration and described as a "great disappointment" by the Palestinians. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described as "inexplicable" UNESCO’s decision to move ahead on the Palestinian bid. Madam Clinton said the decision about status must be made in the United Nations and not in auxiliary groups that are subsidiary to the United Nations".

The US currently pays 22% of UNESCO’s funding and the latest move raises questions about whether Washington might cut off that funding if the agency accepts the Palestinians as a member. US Republican Congresswoman Kay Granger, who chairs the sub-committee that disburses US money for diplomatic purposes, said in a statement she would "advocate for all funding to be cut off". The US Congress recently froze $200m (£130m) US aid to the Palestinian Authority in response to its application for UN membership.

Not for the first time, Congress seemed to go too far, even for the government of Israel. Republicans, involved in the Sept-11 hoax, are deadly anti-Palestine. Over the summer, more than 80 members of Congress, from both parties, visited Israel. Members have been falling over themselves to introduce supposedly pro-Israel legislation, including a resolution endorsing Israel's right to annex the West Bank - proposed by a Republican - and a move to cut off military aid to any country supporting the Palestinian bid for UN membership, sponsored by a Democrat.

Republican Bob Turner has successfully exploited Jewish anxieties over Obama's Middle East policy. The frontrunner, Texas Governor Rick Perry, blamed the president for encouraging the Palestinians to seek membership at the UN. He and others say the Obama policy in the Middle East is “naive, arrogant, misguided and dangerous”, "an unmitigated diplomatic disaster," etc. republicans see it as the culmination of President Obama's repeated efforts over three years to throw Israel under the bus. These are bold, incendiary claims, but the candidates clearly feel there is much to be gained from highlighting the president's alleged hostility to the state of Israel.

Congress itself remains a bastion of pro-Israel sentiment, as witnessed by numerous recent threats to block $50m (£33m) in aid to the Palestinian Authority if it continues its pursuit of UN membership. The US was to make a payment of $60m to UNESCO this month, but that money will not be forthcoming because an American law forbids funding for any UN body that admits Palestine as a full member. This is not the first time that America is at odds with UNESCO. During the Cold War, Washington remained hostile to UNESCO for nearly two decades, because it believed the UN agency was pursuing aims that conflicted with its foreign policy goals.

Such moves have been seen before, but the strength of the current pro-Israel climate on Capitol Hill clearly complicates Obama's job as he tries to navigate the mine-infested waters of Middle East diplomacy.

But Obama the shrewd politician seems to be trying to outsmart the pro-Israeli Americans to get himself re-elected to White House. Obama's speech at the UN on 22 September 2011 was welcomed by almost all major American Jewish organizations and billed in the media as his most pro-Israel yet. Despite Netanyahu’s complex, sometimes frosty relationship with the Obama White House, he remains a darling of Congress, receiving a rapturous reception in May, when he addressed a joint session. Members rose to their feet for three dozen standing ovations, the sort of treatment B Obama can only dream of.

Around this time last year, President Obama called for a Palestinian state within 12 months. His predecessor George Bush said 12 months before he left office that there would be a Palestinian state within a year. In fact, the Obama regime had been working very hard, and to no avail, to persuade the Palestinians not to apply. Feeling big pinch from all sides, Israel told the UN General Assembly that it was a theatre of the absurd.

Those nations vulnerable to American pressure voted against Palestinian admission as member to UNESCO are indeed degrading international morality and they go opposed to the aspirations to establish a global democracy by siding with global state terror organizations led by NATO.

An Observation

Israeli state criminals who consider any international move that denies chances for their fascist regime to consume the corpses of Palestinians, is threatening to their own illegal existence in Mideast that could obviously see this development as negative. Americans and some European also could view the UNESCO recognition of Palestine similarly.

But the Palestinians have scored some useful points at UN recently seeking UN full membership. By applying for UN membership, and defying the Americans, they have put the issue of their independence back on to the international agenda - and given themselves, in their own eyes, a little more backbone. It is not the first 12-month deadline for the creation of a Palestinian state and a Middle East peace treaty.

The admission of Palestine to membership in UNESCO is for so many reasons, a step forward in the long march of the Palestinian people toward the dignity humans deserve. The crucial decision is a moral victory for the Palestinians ahead of the Security Council’s vote on the PLO (PA)’s application for full UN membership this month. Palestinians` full membership of UNESCO constitutes a major political success for them and a bold decision on the part of the UN cultural organization. It forms part of a larger Palestinian push towards international recognition for Palestine as a nation-state.

It is not clear in what way Palestine’s UNESCO membership undermines peace talks or in what way was “the international community’s shared goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East” as the White House claims. After all “talks” are controlled by Tel-Aviv and US Jewish lobbyists for adding the Zionist prolongation of occupation and genocides and they are bogus!

Indeed, UNESCO has given a momentary respite to those who were completely disillusioned by what to expect from the UN or the system of states when it comes to Palestinian aspirations. Welcoming Palestine to UNESCO is a day of vindication for the Palestinian people upon the wider Palestinian tragedy and struggle, and a political victory for PLO leadership, but it is also a day when all of us should reflect, and seek to take further steps forward.

The false democracy facade of the directorial US power and its claims of serving the cause of world peace and humanity security, as usual, has been exposed yet again as it opposed the Palestine membership of UNESCO and threatened to cut the aid to UNESCO.

With USA playing a usual vulture game, that looks unlikely now. There is also general concern here that a Palestinian confrontation with the Americans on this issue could ignite violence in the Middle East. Of course, USA can ignite trouble in Mideast as it has already done Libya, Syria, Egypt, and elsewhere. The US-Israeli vultures are still keeping their long poisonous tongues out seeking to draw some Iranian blood as well.

About the writer:

Dr. Abdul Ruff, Specialist on State Terrorism; Educationalist; Chancellor-Founder of Centor for International Affairs (CIA); Independent Analyst; Chronicler of Foreign occupations & Freedom movements(Palestine, Kashmir, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Xinjiang, Chechnya, etc); Anti-Muslimism and anti-Islamism are more dangerous than "terrorism" Anti-Islamic forces & terrorists are using criminal elements for terrorizing the world and they in disguise are harming genuine interests of ordinary Muslims. Global media today, even in Muslim nations, are controlled by CIA & other anti-Islamic agencies. Former university Teacher. Website: http://www.abdulruff.wordpress.com.


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