The U.S. said a vote earlier Monday by UNESCO, the U.N. cultural and educational agency, to allow Palestinian membership could harm renewed Mideast peace efforts.
Palestine became a full member of UNESCO in a highly divisive breakthrough that could cost the agency a fifth of its budget.
Lawmakers in the United States, which provides about 22 percent of UNESCO’s funding, had threatened to halt some $80 million in annual funding if Palestinian membership was approved. It wasn’t clear in the immediate aftermath of Monday’s vote whether the threat would become reality.
White House spokesman Jay Carney called UNESCO’s decision “premature” and said it undermines the international community’s goal of a comprehensive Middle East peace plan. He called it a distraction from the goal of restarting direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
Monday’s vote is a grand symbolic victory for the Palestinians, but it alone won’t make Palestine into a state. The issue of borders of an eventual Palestinian state, security troubles and other disputes that have thwarted Middle East peace for decades remain unresolved.
Huge cheers went up in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization after delegates approved the membership in a vote of 107-14 with 52 abstentions. Eighty-one votes were needed for approval in a hall with 173 UNESCO member delegations present.
“Long Live Palestine!” shouted one delegate, in French, at the unusually tense and dramatic meeting of UNESCO’s General Conference.
Read the rest HERE
We are still waiting for the UNSC vote on Palestinian membership. Is this an indication of what will happen in the near future? We know that Israel and Jerusalem will be divided, and Palestine will have a temporary victory. But woe to the nations that will force it on Israel.
In other news, it looks like the world markets are going south again. The big EU plan to save the EU only helped for a few days. Market-Ticker says the following:
The buzz this morning, coming from multiple sources (all of whom so far insist on being unnamed) is that the Greek “restructuring” is going to be declared a credit event and trigger the CDS.
Before everyone goes “Boo!” and runs to hide under a rock, the net exposure involved here is in the single-digit billions. It’s not that large.
As with most things in this venue, it’s not the singular event that poses the problem. It’s the precedent, and “who’s next”: In this case, Italy.
As I and a few others pointed out originally “solving” Greece did nothing, because the problem wasn’t Greece per-se; it was the entirely-unsustainable debt picture worldwide, of which Greece was a symptom.
The S&P 500 rallied more than 200 points, roughly 20% in a couple of weeks, on the premise that it would all be ok once Greece was resolved. As I pointed out at the time this was idiotic – resolving Greece was not sufficient as the underlying problem is not that Greece is in trouble, it is that there is too much leverage in both the European and American economies!
This morning Europe is rethinking their “rallying cry” with Italy showing lots of trouble. For those who were paying attention last week didn’t see much movement in the credit markets — certainly not what we saw in the stock market — and history has shown that when it comes to the credit and stock markets the folks in the stock market are IQ-challenged.
In fact, the entire rally last week looked a lot like machines playing the dollar and reflexively buying as the dollar declined:
Thanks to Jackie for making us aware of both events.
EDIT: Another update from Jackie.
31 October 2011, 9:32 PM BRUSSELS — EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Monday urged nations to maintain support for UNESCO after the Palestinians won entry, as the US said it would stop funding as a result of the vote.
“The EU calls on all to continue their support for UNESCO’s mission,” a spokesman for Ashton said. “This is about peace, identity, culture, heritage and freedom of expression.”
“The EU therefore urges all parties to pause for reflection before taking precipitate actions,” he added.
“We should do everything we can to prevent damage to the very UN organisation which places these themes at the heart of its work.”
Palestinians were admitted as a member of Paris-based UNESCO after 107 nations voted in favour, with 14 voting against and 52 abstaining.
Among those opposed were the United States and Israel, which have said they will withdraw funding from the UN cultural body.
Hours after the vote, Washington said it was stopping financial contributions to the UN cultural body.
Washington in the 1990s banned the financing of any United Nations organisation that accepts Palestine as a full member, meaning the body would lose $70 million (50 million euros), or 22 percent of its annual budget.