The Palestinian Authority is seeking membership in 16 more United Nations
agencies and organizations, the PA envoy to Geneva, Ibrahim Khraisheh, said on
A PA official in Ramallah told The Jerusalem Post that after
joining UNESCO, the Palestinians have their eyes set on the World Health
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The official said that the PA minister of health was now
preparing an official membership request that would be submitted to the WHO
later this month.
Khraisheh’s announcement came one day after UNESCO
voted in favor of full membership of the Palestinians in the international
He told The Associated Press that the PA was now hoping to
benefit from the UNESCO vote in favor of the Palestinians to apply for
membership in 16 more UN agencies and organizations.
Khraisheh did not
name the UN bodies that the Palestinians seek to join.
The US, one day
after announcing it was suspending funds to UNESCO following its recognition of
Palestinian statehood, turned with concern to the other UN institutions that may
be courted by the PA.
Speculators in Washington are warning that more
critical organizations, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency, could be
the next targets.
The WHO, the PA’s next agency on its list of requests
for recognition, has described American funding as “vital” for its
High-tech representatives already met with State Department
representatives to try and understand how to protect their intellectual capital
if the US limits or restricts the World Intellectual Property Organization
(WIPO) from participation.
In response to Monday’s landslide UNESCO vote,
Congresswoman Kay Granger, chairwoman of the House State and Foreign Operations
Appropriations Subcommittee, called upon the Obama administration to enforce the
1994 law barring US contributions to UN institutions that recognized
unilaterally-declared Palestinian statehood.
She also called on the
administration to act similarly against any other UN organizations that pass
similar votes in the future.
It is unlikely that Palestinian funding will
be further affected by the UNESCO declaration. A hold was placed on $200 million
in aid to the PA last August, signaling Washington’s disapproval of the quest
for unilateral recognition of Palestinian statehood.
Granger worked in
the past to bring about the current freeze of US funding to the Palestinian
Although she acceded to requests to lift the freeze on
security funding, she is expected to stand strong on her position against
unfreezing economic funds.
Last Thursday, US Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton urged Congress not to cut security aid. Clinton told the House Foreign
Affairs Committee that the administration has a “strong preference that aid not
be cut, particularly aid for the security forces.”
Minister John Baird said on Tuesday that Canada will not help make up any
funding shortfall to UNESCO, after the US decided to stop funding the
“Under no circumstances will Canada cover the budgeting
shortfall as a result of this decision, and Canada has decided to freeze all
further contributions to UNESCO,” Baird told reporters, adding that Ottawa was
deeply disappointed by the vote.