The vote was strongly in Palestine’s favor on Monday at UNESCO’s General Conference in Paris — 107 for Palestine to join with only 14 against — but with more than fifty abstentions.
UNESCO’s biggest contributor — the United States — took its ball and went home — with the US State Department saying it had no choice by law but to renege on a sixty million dollar contribution due to UNESCO this month.
Asked on Tuesday about the massive financial hit UNESCO would take — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said member states would have to make do.
UNESCO is the first UN agency to formally vote Palestine in as a member since Palestine applied for full membership back on September 23rd.
The UN Security Council — which must approve the membership bid for it to succeed — has shelved the issue until later in November.
Today Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was asked if the thinks it’s US policy to essentially say “Vote our way, against Palestine, or we’ll take our money and leave.”
Ban defended the US — with his office saying that the Secretary-General believes the US supports Palestine and the Middle East peace process.
Ban added that President Barack Obama’s hands are tied — as the funding block is a result of a twenty year old American law. At a press conference on sustainable development — Ban said he was determined to keep the conversation flowing.
The discussion had better happen fast — as far as Palestine is concerned.
The Palestinian people are largely dependent on foreign aid — and millions of American dollars began drying up as soon as Palestine’s membership bid at the UN was submitted.
Canada has said that it will not withhold the funding that it has committed to — but it will not fill the tremendous financial hole that American nonpayment will create.