AJC Disappointed by UNESCO Executive Board Vote
NEW YORK, Oct. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — AJC expresses its disappointment with today’s decision by the UNESCO Executive Board to recommend that Palestine be admitted as a full member of the UN agency.
The UNESCO Executive Board is comprised of 58 members, of whom 40 voted in favor of the draft resolution, 14 abstained and four voted against. The matter will now be referred to the UNESCO General Conference, which will start on October 25.
“This represents the latest step in an ill-advised Palestinian strategy,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. “Rather than accept the Quartet proposal for restarting peace negotiations, as Israel has done, President Abbas is engaging in a counterproductive end-run that won’t bring his people any closer to achieving a real Palestinian state.
“Undermining prospects for peace, President Abbas is making good on the threat he voiced in The New York Times, ‘to pave the way for the internationalization of the conflict as a legal matter…and to pursue claims against Israel at the United Nations, human rights treaty bodies and the International Court of Justice.’
“Germany, Latvia, Romania and the United States, the four countries that voted against the resolution, have recognized this attempt for what it is, a thumb in the nose of international efforts to bring the parties back to the table. Let us hope others follow their laudable example and oppose this gambit when it comes before the General Conference later this month,” Harris concluded.
A two-thirds majority of the 193 General Conference member states must vote in favor of the resolution in order to upgrade the Palestinians from their current “observer status” to full member state.
Unfortunately, in recent years UNESCO has been manipulated as an instrument in the campaign to delegitimize Israel. In November 2010, AJC condemned a UNESCO decision outrageously declaring two historic Jewish sites, the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb, as “Palestinian.” Both sites are among the most sacred in Jewish tradition.
SOURCE American Jewish Committee