Palestine joins, the US withdraws funding
In a move indicative of the US’s unwavering support for Israeli policy, the Obama administration has announced that US funding will be withdrawn from USECO the cultural and educational agency of the UN (United Nations) following the Palestinians’ successful bid to join the branch of the UN.
The Palestinian leadership’s bid received overwhelming support from member nations. Britain abstained from the vote.
The news has come ahead of the Palestinian bid for full UN membership and status which was announced by the Palestinian leadership in September. It is also believed that there are plans for the Palestinians’ to seek to join other branches.
In what has been widely hailed as a defiant and disillusioned response even by US standards, Obama’s posturing will be seized on by Republicans as a sign that the President is out of touch and isolated.
His actions while not a surprise given his unwavering support for the likes of AIPAC, certainly fly in the face of his infamous “we’ll extend a hand if you’ll unclench a fist” speeches that characterised his promises to open up a new chapter of dialogue with the Middle East just a few years ago. If any doubts remained they no longer linger.
In a law ratified by congress and the senate in the 1990’s, the US government following the successful Palestinian bid is now obliged to withdraw all funding earmarked for UNESCO, but will however remain a full member.
The reactions of the US government and the state of Israel are telling. While the US continues to bury its head in the sand, despite the strong signal of support for the Palestinians-and a changing consensus-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to freeze Palestinian custom revenues, and speed up the expansion of some 2000 Israeli settler homes in East Jerusalem and the West Bank-settlements which are illegal under international law.
The Palestinian Authority has described the actions of the Israeli government as “a decision to speed up the destruction of the peace process”
At the Security Council’s imminent vote to determine whether Palestine will be acknowledged as an independent state, the US is expected to use its veto to throw a spanner in the works.
What’s clear so far however is that support for the right of the Palestinian people to be acknowledged has increased significantly?
How this will unfold however and what it will mean in practice remains to be seen. If laws and resolutions are continually ignored for the sake of the current order as they have been, then it will likely be a case of business as usual regarding the sideling of the rights of the Palestinian people-regardless of shuffling at the UN table.
For now however this can be viewed as a step in the right direction, but pressure must be maintained in order for real progress to be made.Tagged in: barack obama, israel, Palestine, politics, un
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