UN World Tourism Organization nixes PA membership bid

September 13, 2017 13:30

Israeli diplomats had attempted to pressure the agency to reject the Palestinian bid.

1 minute read.

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Breaking news. (photo credit: JPOST STAFF)

The United Nations' World Tourism Organization has announced that will postpone until its next session, in two years, a decision on allowing the Palestinian Authority to join its ranks.

The Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Tourism applied for membership for “Palestine” into the organization last year.

Had the bid been successful, the UNWTO would have been the second UN organization, after UNESCO, to which the Palestinians gained full membership. 

The US has reportedly asked Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to refrain from unilateral action in international fora for the next four months to allow the US to unveil a comprehensive diplomatic plan.

“Israel has taken all diplomatic measures to block the request,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman said ahead of the announcement. “We are not expecting any negative impact on Israel or its continued activity in the organization - the expected damage will be to the organization itself.”

Israel's efforts to block the move have focused on the secretariat of the organization in Madrid, it's outgoing Secretary-General - the Jordanian diplomat Taleb Rifai - and on China, which is hosting the conference.

Israel has also involved the Americans, who have warned the Palestinians that their joining the organization could have consequences in their relations with the US.

The Foreign Ministry's spokesman said that Israel's position is that the “State Of Palestine” does not exist, and therefore it cannot be accepted as a state in the UN or in any of its affiliated organizations.

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