Florida's Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is determined to stop the Palestinian Authority from carrying out its statehood bid in the United Nations – or at least, from discouraging most of the international community from supporting it.
The chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee announced Tuesday she has advanced a measure to block U.S. funding to any U.N. member or group that supports an upgrade to the PA's diplomatic status in the international body next month.
The proposal was folded into a larger bill of legislation being presented in the House of Representatives that will change the way the United States – the U.N.'s biggest contributor -- provides its share of the funding to the U.N. Approximately 22 percent of the U.N. budget and 25 percent of its worldwide peacekeeping costs are covered by the United States.
If passed, the bill will place new controls on American funding at the international body. Under the measure, U.S. funding would be conditional on the United States retaining the ability to choose the programs it wishes to fund at the U.N., and which ones it does not, Reuters reported.
Ros-Lehtinen added a clause opposing the Palestinian Authority's membership in the United Nations as a new country. The PA has announced its intention to seek recognition as a sovereign nation and membership in the U.N. at the international body's General Assembly gathering on September 20.
Membership in the United Nations, however, requires the unanimous approval of all five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. The United States, one of the Council's permanent members, has already said it would veto such a bid.
Failing that option, the PA could also seek an upgrade from its current observer status to one as a non-member state – a move that only requires a two-thirds approval of the General Assembly, and not the approval of the Security Council. The Republican lawmaker is seeking to block this second bid as well. A harsh critic on the U.N. for some time, Ros-Lehtinen said in her statement, “My bill... seeks to stop this dangerous scheme in its tracks.”