Daily Israel Report

US Cuts Off UNESCO Funding

The US promptly made good on its threat to cut off funds to UNESCO following its vote Monday to accept the PA as a full member.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 10/31/2011, 8:29 PM

The United States has made good on its threat to cut off funding to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) following the Paris-based agency's vote Monday to accept the Palestinian Authority as a member.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland announced at a briefing Monday the administration had no choice in the matter, and would not make its $60 million payment in November to the agency.

A longstanding law that prohibits U.S. support for any United Nations-affiliated body that accepts Palestinian Authority membership precludes funding the international body, she said.

At present, Washington provides 22 percent of UNESCO's budget – its largest source of funds.

The 193 member nations voted to approve PA membership by a vote of 107 to 14, with 52 abstentions. A two-thirds vote was required in order to approve the resolution.

France voted to support the resolution, as did China, India, and nearly all the Arab, African, Asian and Latin American nations.

Israel, the U.S., Canada and Germany voted against. Britain abstained, as did Japan.

Israel warned that the move would further distance any chance of peace from the region, rather than promote any hope of a final status agreement between Jerusalem and Ramallah. The Foreign Ministry thanked those countries that voted against the resolution, and expressed disappointment that the European Union had been unable to muster the unity necessary to prevent its passage.