Palestinian UNESCO reps 311 R.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Benoit Tessier)
After the U.S. halted funding to UNESCO last week in response to the agency’s
acceptance of “Palestine” as a full member, many pundits argued that Washington
would thereby undermine its international influence. But Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI),
whose party strongly supports U.S. engagement with the UN, had a
counterargument: Doing exactly what America had threatened to do would actually
bolster its influence, he said, by showing that its views could not be ignored
with impunity.Nor did it take long for his prediction to come true: Last
Thursday – just two days after the Palestinian Authority had announced plans to
seek membership in 16 additional UN organizations – PA Foreign Minister Riyal
al-Maliki announced that these plans had been shelved. Faced with the
realization that Washington really would stop paying its 22% share of UN
agencies’ budgets, it seems the same “international community” that
overwhelmingly voted to accept “Palestine” into UNESCO began pressing the PA to
not repeat the gambit.