Defying international law and negotiated peace agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has unilaterally recognized the Palestinian Authority as a full member “state.”
UNESCO, a United Nations (U.N.) agency, has now become a co-conspirator in the terrorist-led Palestinian Authority’s attempt to circumvent the Middle East peace process in order to gain unilateral recognition of statehood. This act of defiance has real consequences, both for UNESCO and for some American corporations.
UNESCO has in effect forced the U.S.’s hand to defund the 22% of the organization’s budget (roughly $80 million) that the U.S. contributes annually. Federal law prohibits taxpayer dollars from being used to fund any U.N. agency that recognizes the Palestinian Authority as a state.
Public Law 101-246, enacted in 1990, provides, “No funds authorized to be appropriated by this Act or any other Act shall be available for the United Nations or any specialized agency thereof which accords the Palestine Liberation Organization the same standing as member states.” Moreover, Public Law 103-236, enacted in 1994, prohibits “voluntary or assessed contribution to any affiliated organization of the United Nations which grants full membership as a state to any organization or group that does not have the internationally recognized attributes of statehood.”
The U.S. State Department reacted appropriately, immediately cutting off funds for the U.N. agency, which included cancelling a $60 million payment scheduled for later this month. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland stated, "We are not going to be able to continue contributing to the budget. Palestinian membership as a state in UNESCO triggers longstanding legislative restrictions which will compel the United States to refrain from making contributions to UNESCO."
The ACLJ has long advocated defunding of the U.N. or any U.N. agency that violates international law by unilaterally recognizing the Palestinian Authority – led by the terrorist group Hamas – as a sovereign state. While we applaud the State Department’s statement that it would “have to comply with U.S. law,” we must remain vigilant to ensure that the Obama Administration carries through on defunding UNESCO and any other international body that recognizes Palestine as a state in circumvention of the Middle East peace process.
As the State Department spokeswoman admitted, it “will have a conversation with Congress on moving forward.” We will be watching to make sure that this “conversation” does not include ways around this law or weakening longstanding foreign policy, and we will continue working with Members of Congress to ensure that we protect our important strategic ally in the region, Israel. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has already come out with a strong statement today that she will work to oppose any efforts reverse current U.S. law and reward "organizations which harm our interest and our allies."
We will continue to keep you informed as this situation develops.
As we previously reported , on December 6, 2018, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) was poised to approve an historic resolution condemning the violent acts Hamas continues to perpetrate against Israel. This resolution was drafted by the United States and represented a long-overdue...
The U.N. was poised to do something it has never done, condemn the terrorist group Hamas for firing rockets at Israeli civilians. Yet at the last minute the enemies of freedom pulled an outrageous stunt requiring a 2/3 vote to pass the resolution, instead of the normal 50% majority. While the...
The U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has long been a body that seems not nearly as interested in defending human rights as defiantly bullying Israel, and the United States has taken a stand to say, “no more.” Joined by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations,
As we have previously told you , your voice was essential in the passage of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2379. This resolution is a vital step in providing the relief that Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq so desperately need and the justice they most assuredly deserve. It is...