By Stan Goodenough
The 107 nations voting in favor included South Africa, China, Russia, Brazil, India and France. Among the 14 votes against were the US, Canada and Germany. Britain abstained.
Delegates cheer after they approved the membership of Palestine during Monday's session of UNESCO's 36th General Conference in Paris.Huge cheers reportedly went up in UNESCO after the results were announced. One shouted “Long Live Palestine!” in French.
The agency’s decision came as the United Nations Security Council continued its deep discussion about awarding full UN membership to the phantom 22nd Arab state.
Experts suggest the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO’s) at the Paris-based UNESCO headquarters success will boost its chances to pass muster with the Security Council.
While no State of Palestine exists (or ever has), it is the avowed purpose of the international community to create one on the biblical and mountainous heartland of Israel and in the Gaza Strip – with a belt of land linking the territories and cutting what would be left of Israel in two. For decades the world – which rejects the Jews’ claim to Samaria and Judea, including Jerusalem – has been striving for this end.
The PLO has been fiercely lobbying – and continues to lobby – member states for support. Latest reports indicate it still has only eight of the nine votes it needs, with Bosnia remaining undecided.
The Security Council is expected to vote on the question on or around November 11, 2011.
For Israel, the traction gained by the PLO’s quest has constituted immense and unremitting pressure to give in to “Palestinian” preconditions for resuming negotiations.
Increasing that load has been the announcement of the Quartet (the UN, European Union, United States and Russia) that it failed in its just-completed mission to try and kick start the “peace process.” The situation, it cautioned, looks bleak.
Piling on with the latest act of brinkmanship, PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas last week threatened to resign as chairman of the Palestinian Authority (PA), and dissolve it.
And adding his contribution Monday, pro-Palestinian UN special coordinator for the “peace process,” Robert Serry, warned Israel that the PA’s collapse could trigger renewed violence in “the West Bank.”
“If things go wrong,” he said, “don’t expect the international community to bail you out.”
Meanwhile the United States had reportedly threatened to withhold $80 million in funding from UNESCO if the vote to admit “Palestine” passed. Will the Americans make good on their threat?