PARIS (Jun. 20)
Israeli officials here said Tuesday they were “more or less satisfied” that efforts to have a “state of Palestine” admitted to the United Nations Economic, Scientific and Cultural Organization have suffered a major setback, even though a prolonged legal and diplomatic battle seems likely.
UNESCO’s 51-member executive council announced Monday, after studying a proposal by seven Arab and African nations, that it would place a request for “Palestine’s” admission on the agenda of UNESCO’s General Conference.
The General Conference, the agency’s equivalent of the U.N. General Assembly, will convene in October.
Israeli officials promptly pointed out that the Executive Council made no reference to a “state of Palestine,” only to “Palestine,” a nonexistent entity.
The decision, adopted by show of hands, was a compromise worked out by the 12 nations of the European Community and representatives of the Arab states.
But the Israelis credited the United States, which quit UNESCO five years ago and has made clear it will not return if a Palestinian state is admitted or if the Palestine Liberation Organization is given the status of a sovereign state.
The executive council also promised to review the matter one more time, when it convenes again in September. The General Conference cannot admit new members without the executive council’s approval.
The Israeli officials said they “have definite and binding promises from the Western delegations that they will block the admission process in September once again.”