WASHINGTON (JTA) — The U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee that controls foreign funding warned UNESCO in a letter that it risks a funding cutoff if it gives the Palestinians statehood status.
"Any recognition of Palestine as a Member State would not only jeopardize the hope for a resumption of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, but would endanger the United States’ contribution to UNESCO," says the letter being sent Friday to Irina Bokova, the director-general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
The letter was signed by Reps. Kay Granger (R-Texas), and Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), respectively the chairwoman and ranking member of the Foreign Operations subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee, as well as every other member.
The letter, initiated by Rep. Steve Rothman (D-N.J.), cites existing U.S. law against funding any body that recognizes the Palestine Liberation Organization as having statehood status.
UNESCO’s board this week agreed to allow the full body to vote on whether to recognize "Palestine," drawing criticism from Israel, the United States and a number of pro-Israel groups.