Israel declines to accept Palestine’s Unesco membership

November 1st, 2011 - 4:51 am ICT by IANS  

Tel Aviv, Nov 1 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Israel has refused to accept Unesco’s decision to grant full membership to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and threatened retaliatory measures.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry Monday called Palestinian accession to the Unesco “a unilateral manoeuver” that would threaten Arab-Israeli peace talks.

The decision will not turn the Palestinian Authority into a legitimate State but will rather create additional obstacles to a resumption of the talks, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Tel Aviv also warned that it would adjust its position toward further cooperation with Unesco.

Earlier Monday, the US threatened to cut off funding for Unesco in response to Palestine’s accession.

Palestine’s membership in the UN cultural body comes a month after it filed a statehood membership bid in the UN, which was later blocked by a US veto in the Security Council.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said that the entry into Unesco was not related to the UN membership bid.

“Our accession to Unesco is a process that has lasted for 22 years, we started it in 1989. Each year the ambassador made the requests and now we could see the result of our efforts,” Al-Malki said at Unesco headquarters. “It is not and has never been connected to the Palestinian statehood bid at the UN.”

–IANS/RIA Novosti
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