UNESCO, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, admitted Palestine as a full member this week after receiving 107 “YES” votes, a two-thirds majority.
As reported by The Washington Post, “Huge cheers erupted in the Paris meeting hall when the Palestinian membership was approved.” However, the U.S., having voted “NO” along with a minority of other countries – which included its staunch ally Israel – had an altogether different response.
Says the Post, “The United States promptly responded by cutting off funding for the agency.” But, as reported by Al Jazeera, “Ahmed Yousef, a Hamas official and the deputy foreign minister in Gaza, called it a “great achievement” and said the vote “shows that Israel and America are not dictating politics to the world anymore.”
Of Israel’s response to Palestine’s acceptance into UNESCO, The Huffington Post reports: “Israel’s outspoken foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, said before the vote that if it passed, Israel should cut off ties with the Palestinian Authority. It was not clear whether he was voicing an individual opinion or government policy. He has a history of making comments embarrassing to the prime minister.”
In an address to parliament, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vehemently condemned the Palestinian’s move, and warned that Israel would “not sit quietly” for this.
In support of Israel, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says, “The United States will not make the $60 million payment [to UNESCO] scheduled for November.”
What are your thoughts about Palestine’s acceptance into UNESCO?
What do you think about U.S. and Israeli reaction?