|The UNESCO vote today: AP Photo - Thibault Camus|
This is the first UN agency the Palestinians have sought to join since submitting their bid for recognition to the Security Council in September.The New York Times:
The UN Security Council will vote next month on whether to grant the Palestinians full UN membership.
Widespread applause greeted the result of Monday's vote in the chamber - of 173 countries taking part, 107 were in favour, 14 voted against and 52 abstained.
The step will cost the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization one-quarter of its yearly budget — the 22 percent contributed by the United States (about $70 million) plus another 3 percent contributed by Israel. Unless that shortfall is made up by other nations, Unesco will have to begin closing offices and laying off staff.Ms. Nuland, as has been covered here before, is married to Robert Kagan, one of the original creators of the notorious Project for the New American Century, perhaps the most instrumental organization behind the lies that goy us into Iraq, and cost the lives of thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.
Cheers filled the hall at Unesco’s headquarters here after the vote, with one delegate shouting “Long live Palestine!” in French. The Palestinian foreign minister, Riad al-Malki, praised the organization, saying that “this vote will help erase a tiny part of the injustice done to the Palestinian people” and will help protect world heritage sites in Israeli-occupied territory.
In a long speech that was met with applause, Mr. Malki said that “this membership will be the best step toward peace and stability,” insisting that the Palestinian request for membership in Unesco was “linked in no way to our request to join the United Nations.”
The Obama administration, which values its membership in Unesco, tried unsuccessfully to keep the vote from taking place, while Irina Bokova, the American-supported director-general of the organization, traveled to Washington to meet with congressional leaders and ask them to alter the law.
Legislation dating from 1990 and 1994 mandates a complete cutoff of American financing to any United Nations agency that accepts the Palestinians as a full member. State Department lawyers judged that there was no leeway in the legislation, and no possibility of a waiver, so the United States contribution for 2011 and future years will not be paid.
Addressing Unesco’s general conference after the vote, the American ambassador to the organization, David T. Killion, said that the United States “remains deeply committed to Unesco,” which he called a “vital organization.” But he repeatedly called the vote on Monday “premature” and said the United States would seek other means to support the agency, though he did not offer specifics.
Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the State Department, said an expected November payment of $60 million to the agency would not be made.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the list of nations who voted for Palestinian acceptance is the roster of Western Hemisphere nations:
Against: Canada, Panama, The United States
Abstained: Bahamas, Barbados, Colombia, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago
Absent: Antigua and Barbuda, Guyana,
For: Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Equador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Iceland, Nicaragua, Partaguay, Peru, Sant Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela
This was a very bad day for the United States. When the Israeli Ambassador to the UN predictably voterd "No," the audience actually erupted in openly dirisive laughter. When the voting was over and the Palestinians became members, the audience erupted in cheers: