A Congressional law that would stop funding for the United Nations if it recognizes the Palestinian Authority as a state would stop the plan in its tracks, says John Bolton, former American Ambassador to the international body and a possible presidential candidate.
The United Nations is slated to discuss in September an Arab League motion to recognize the Palestinian Authority with borders based on the temporary 1949 Armistice Lines that defined Israel’s territory.
Writing in The Wall Street Journal on Friday, Bolton dismissed the possibility that U.S. President Barack Obama would take such action on his own. He wrote, “Mr. Obama is highly unlikely to do anything so decisive, which is why many in America and Israel remain gravely concerned about this latest Palestinian diplomatic ploy.”
Bolton noted that although U.N. recognition of the Palestinian Authority does not mean it would have membership in the United Nations, “It would nonetheless be a major Palestinian success.”
As far back as 1988, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) issued a "declaration of statehood” and changed the name of its observer delegation to the United Nations from the PLO to Palestine.
“The Palestinians then campaigned to join U.N. bodies like the World Health Organization, reasoning that since U.N. agency charters allow only states as members, the admission of ‘Palestine’ would prove that it, too, was a state,” Bolton explained in his op-ed article.
He noted that at the time, Secretary of State James Baker warned publicly, “I will recommend to the President that the United States make no further contributions, voluntary or assessed, to any international organization which makes any changes in the PLO's status as an observer organization."
Bolton stated, “Although defeating the PLO campaign required further maneuvering, Mr. Baker's statement was the death knell of the ‘statehood’ push.”
After writing that President Obama will not take such action, Bolton turned to Congress, which he said “has a rich history of dealing with U.N. actions it doesn't appreciate. Rather than wait for a Baker-like threat, Congress should legislate broadly that any U.N. action that purports to acknowledge or authorize Palestinian statehood will result in a cutoff of all U.S. contributions to the offending agency….
“Reducing U.S. funding to the U.N. is the next available, highly visible, target of opportunity. It presents the U.N. membership with a fascinating question: Would they rather recognize Palestinian statehood, or keep America's money?"