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Palestine granted UNESCO full membership

The United Nations cultural agency granted Palestinians full membership with a 107 votes in favor, 14 against, and 52 abstentions. The landmark decision comes just one week before the UN General Assembly is expected to vote in favor of recognizing the Palestinian State as a full member of the United Nations.

The United States and Israel have condemned the UNESCO vote. The former is fully determined to exercise its veto power in the Security Council should the General Assembly approve Palestine’s membership. In the 1990s, the U.S. Congress passed separate laws promising monetary retraction:

 “to any affiliated organization of the United Nations which grants full membership as a state to any organization or group that does not have the internationally recognized attributes of statehood.” (P.L. 103-236, Title IV 1994)

Prior legislation states, “No funds authorized to be appropriated by this act or any other act shall be available for the United Nations or any specialized agency thereof which accords the Palestine Liberation Organization the same standing as member states.” (P.L. 101-246, Title IV 1990)

Amidst the tense debate between the United States and the other world powers (Brazil, Russia, China, India, South Africa, and France voted in favor of Palestine’s UNESCO membership), it seems that once again U.S. diplomats will struggle to maintain an increasingly isolated policy on the Israel-Palestine issue.

Meanwhile, Gaza militants continue to launch rockets into southern Israel toward Be’er Sheva and Sderot. And providing further fodder for this gloomy global context, The Guardian reports that Israel and the world’s nuclear powers seek upgrades in their respective nuclear weapons capabilities.

So much for diplomacy and non-nuclear proliferation  . . .

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