Despite longstanding objections by the United States and Israel, a vote by UNESCO has made Palestine a full member. This move is the single greatest advancement towards their rightful recognition as a state ever. When it was announced many delegates stood and applauded. A rare sight at the UNESCO meetings. “This is really a historic moment,” said Palestinian Foreign minister Riad Malke. “Its the return of he who was banished.”
Palestine won a place in UNESCO with a majority vote. 107 member states voted to admit them in, while 14 voted against and 52 countries abstained.
In a spiteful protest move, the United States has announced that it will stop funding the organization. This means that the planned $60 million in funding set for November will no longer be taking place. The move by the US has drawn rightful criticism, many saying that its intent is to bully the international organization into subordination. The United States has been long opposed to the existence of a Palestinian nation, as it would conflict with its support for Israel.
The reaction expected from Israel will not be positive. Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, warned before the vote that if Palestine was voted in, they would discontinue all communication with he Palestinian Authority.
Currently UNESCO is dependent on the $60 million in funding and constitutes 22% of its operating budget, UNESCO says that it can continue to function without it. In the past they lost funding when US President Ronald Regan withdrew from the organization. They were not members again until two decades later under George W. Bush.
The admission of Palestine into the UNESCO shows a clear shift of the opinion in the international community. Previously it has been nigh on impossible to obtain any real recognition of statehood for Palestine. This sudden reversal indicates a shift in global influence. Perhaps the instability of the US economy, the weakening of the US dollar and the rise of China to the second largest economy have caused nations to re-think their political allegiances.