UNESCO Admits Palestine As Member State
Violated Its Own Constitution In Doing So?
Kisses $65 Million ‘Goodbye’
By Dell Hill via CFP
has paid a high price for hoisting the flag of “Palestine” among the
194 other flags flying at UNESCO’s Paris headquarters this week.
far the price tag has been about $65 million in annual contributions
outstanding by the United States and Israel to the end of December
following UNESCO admitting “Palestine” as a member State on 31 October.
is yet to come for UNESCO with the loss of at least $120 million in
2012-2013 - about 22% of its annual budget - and ongoing repetition of
at least the same shortfall in subsequent years.
United States ceased its annual contribution to UNESCO in compliance
with American domestic law. The suspension was automatic—a 1990’s law
blacklists funding to any UN agency that admits Palestine.
withheld the balance of this year’s contribution to show its
displeasure at the PLO’s action in taking unilateral action to recognize
any Palestinian State outside the face to face negotiations prescribed
by the Oslo Accords and the Bush Road Map.
Are any other UNESCO member states liable to follow suit or help to make up the shortfall?
Foreign Affairs Minister - John Baird - has made it crystal clear that
Canada - one of UNESCO’s larger donors to the tune of $10 million per
annum - will not be helping to make up the shortfall - stating.
no circumstances will Canada cover the budgeting shortfall as a result
of this decision and Canada’s decided to freeze all further voluntary
contributions to UNESCO. The bottom line is there’s going to be a large
hole in UNESCO’s budget because of the American law which withdraws
funding, and people at UNESCO should not look to Canada to fill that
budget hole. They’ll have to go to the countries who supported this
resolution, that caused this budget loophole. And if they want to
appeal to Canada to make even more contributions to voluntary UNESCO
initiatives, we will not be looking at entertaining new ones.”
only has itself to blame for finding itself in this predicament - since
the decision to admit Palestine as a member of UNESCO on the
affirmative votes of 107 of its members could be in clear breach of its
Constitution which appears to require a majority of 129 votes for any
such resolution to have been passed.
strange silence has descended over UNESCO since I first raised this
question with the Director UNESCO Liason Office in New York on 1
November. Three more emails were required before I received any
response - when I was eventually advised on 28 November that my inquiry
was being referred to the press and media senior officer for UNESCO in
thought this a strange referral. The nature of my inquiry surely
should have been better dealt with by UNESCO’s legal advisors.
reply was received on 30 November from UNESCO’s media officer. It still
failed to satisfactorily answer what was a very simple query which
should have elicited an immediate and definitive response from UNESCO -
did Palestine’s admission to UNESCO require 107 or 129 affirmative
put that question again to the Media Officer on 1 December. On 11
December I received a formal response that she would be consulting her
colleagues. She added a strange rider to her email - wanting to know
for which media I was reporting. Why this would have any relevance to
my request was very puzzling.
I readily provided her with an answer on 12 December and requested an
early response to my 1 December email. I am still waiting to hear from
longer UNESCO dithers - the more convinced I am that UNESCO has made a
monumental mistake in admitting Palestine in apparent breach of the
provisions of its own Constitution.
UNESCO be entitled to act in breach of its own Constitution and choose
to studiously ignore investigating any alleged breach when drawn to its
Does the speed of UNESCO’s response to media enquiries depend on the source of the particular media outlet making the enquiry?
UNESCO believe the legality of its decision will be swept under the
carpet if not too many people read an article on a particular web site
which does not have the circulation of the New York Times or the
of the 194 members of UNESCO did not vote for the admission of
Palestine to UNESCO. Like Canada - UNESCO will probably find little
sympathy to any request for them to donate any money to make up this
UNESCO programs will undoubtedly be affected or cut. It has warned that 20 of its 60 field offices may have to close.”
Dell’s Bottom Line: A simple question or two of my own, please.
Where is Palestine? (And I don’t mean the one in Texas)
What is the Capitol of Palestine?
Who is the head of state in Palestine?
Does UNESCO have George Soros on speed dial?