In yesterday’s meeting UNESCO decided clearly to admit Palestine as its full member. 173 countries taking part in the voting, 107 were in favour, 14 voted against and 52 abstained. Two-thirds majority was easily obtained. The atmosphere during the roll call voting was something I have never experienced in my life before. Every single person was following the vote with the understanding of the implications to the world politics. For a while UNESCO certainly was at the very stage of world’s attention.
U.S., Israel and Canada opposed fiercely and explained later that this was not the right time to push forward the candidacy, as the UN membership talks were still ongoing in New York. EU could not come up with a common stance as some abstained, some voted against and some in favour. Finland, Austria, France and Norway were among the EU supporters as Germany opposed.
U.S. and Israel might well cut their funding to UNESCO. U.S. pays a share of 22 % of UNESCO’s budget and this decision will naturally have severe implications to the organization’s work if carried through. For the American administration this was a question of Obama’s re-election but what consequences it will have to the peace process in Middle East will be seen in the future. As UK stated that the Palestinians have with this vote sent a clear message to the international community that the peace process must be speeded up.
I and my collegue Nasma addressed the General Conference on the final report of the Youth Forum. I will post this speech as it will be uploaded in Youtube and translated in English (as Nasma bravely used French, English and Arabic).
You can find the final report in English here:
P.S. This blog just passed 1500 views. Not bad for existing only for two weeks.