Palestinian Authority Voted In As Member Of UNESCO


The PA (Palestinian Authority) was voted in as a member of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in a 107-14 vote.

The granting of full membership to the PA in the UN body will assist the statehood bid that was filed by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), despite objections from Israel and the United States.

Opposing the move was the United States and Germany, but France did a turnaround and supported it, as did Russia, South Africa and China.

Despite White House threats to the international body to cut annual aid to the tune of $70 million, representing about 20% of the organization’s annual funding, UNESCO officials made the decision to bring the PA in.

Nevertheless, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova was quoted in a media interview last week stating that the cessation of US funding would have “serious consequences” for the organization, but apparently not serious enough to heed the warning.

Unlike the Security Council where permanent members may veto a bid, as America indicated it will do, in the UNESCO branch, a simple majority of the 193 members does the trick. This has major political significance for the PA with its statehood bid hanging in the air, more than the fact that the PA is now moving from observer status in UNESCO to full membership.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. The White House has no say in funding UNESCO, since all appropriations are controlled by the Congress, which by statute bans funding any UN agency the recognizes the Palestinians. This is more complicated since several additional UN agencies automatically follow UNESCO. Decisions on US funding are not made by the president.