WASHINGTON (Mar. 15)
The House Foreign Affairs Committee passed on amendment Tuesday offered by Rep. Lester L. Wolff (D. NY) which reduces the U.S. contribution to the United Nations for the American share of costs of the two Palestine Liberation Organization propaganda units there. The Wolff Amendment cuts the U.S. contribution by 25 percent of the costs of the Special Unit on Palestinian Rights and the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.
“UN recognition of the PLO has legitimized that group as a political entity in the eyes of many. This has given them a status which has done much to frustrate United States policy in seeking peace in the Middle East, ” Wolff said. Citing recent events in Iran, Wolff decried the PLO’s consistent role in turning the Arab nations from the peace process.
“I would not advocate cutting funds for the UN just because I do not like a program or disagree with a political persuasion,” he said. “But having a group which regularly takes credit for terrorist violence against civilians represented in a body whose aim is the peaceful resolution of conflicts is outrageous,” Wolff said. He pointed out that there is precedent for withholding funds, as when the United States refused to pay for certain UNESCO programs several years ago, but paid UNESCO in full when the situation improved.
“To withhold even this relatively small amount will show how serious we are about our objections to having terrorists at the UN,” Wolff said. “The value of this amendment is to register our strong protest. We voted against the formation of both committees. We vote against the reports of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People every year, and Ambassador (Andrew) Young has spoken against their partisan and unconstructive role in the UN After this nation takes all those steps, the only thing left to do is to stop footing the bill.”
After noting that the Soviets have refused to pay for peace-keeping expenses in the past, and have paid some of their contribution in nonconvertible rubles, Wolff said that withholding this small amount is “no tragedy.”
His amendment, Wolff noted, “will send a message to the UN that we will not put up with terrorists at the UN who intend to undermine basic human decency, or fund programs that are antiethical to the tenets of the UN Charter.”