Saturday, May 25, 2024

US could suspend funding for UN over Palestine: Report

The US government could stop all funding for UN agencies if a resolution recognizing Palestine as qualifying for UN full membership is adopted, Reuters has reported.

Palestine is currently a “permanent observer state” at the UN that participates in meetings but does not have voting rights.

The UN General Assembly could vote on Friday on a draft resolution that would recognize the Palestinian Authority (PA) as eligible to become a full member of the world body and recommend that the UN Security Council “reconsider the matter favorably”.

Reuters wrote that the vote would demonstrate the level of global support Palestinians have for their bid, which was vetoed by the US in the UN Security Council last month. An application to become a full UN member needs to be approved by the 15-member Security Council, as well as the General Assembly.

“We are aware of the resolution and reiterate our concerns with any effort to extend certain benefits to entities when there are unresolved questions as to whether the Palestinians currently meet the criteria under the Charter,” Nate Evans, spokesperson for the US mission to the UN, was quoted as saying.

Under US law, Washington cannot fund any UN organization that grants full membership to any group that does not have the “internationally recognized attributes” of statehood. In 2011, the US halted funding for the UN cultural agency (UNESCO) after the PA became a full member.

“It remains the US view that the path toward statehood for the Palestinian people is through direct negotiations,” Evans added.

Diplomats told Reuters that the 193-member General Assembly is likely to back the Palestinian bid, adding that changes could still be made to the draft.

Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan denounced the current draft General Assembly resolution, saying it would give Palestinians the rights of a state and that it goes against the founding UN Charter.

“If it is approved, I expect the United States to completely stop funding the UN and its institutions, in accordance with American law,” Erdan stated.

Under the governance of the PA, the State of Palestine claims sovereignty over territory considered Palestinian before the outbreak of the 1967 Six-Day War. This includes Gaza, the entire West Bank, and East Jerusalem.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly rejected the idea of Palestinian statehood, and vowed to impose “full Israeli security control over the entire area west of Jordan”, which includes all of these regions.

Parts of the West Bank are already under full Israeli military and civilian control, while Gaza is governed by Hamas, which views the PA as illegitimate for recognizing and negotiating with Israel.

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