Israel Political Brief October 5, 2011: Israel’s Reaction to UNESCO Vote on Palestinian Authority Membership

Israel’s Reaction to UNESCO Vote

Communicated by Foreign Ministry spokesman

“Israel believes that the correct and only way to advance the peace process with the Palestinians is through direct, unconditional  negotiations. In this context Israel welcomed and accepted the Quartet’s declaration of September 23rd 2011.

The Palestinians’ actions at UNESCO negate both the bilateral negotiations route and the Quartet’s proposal for continuing the diplomatic process. Their actions are a negative response to Israel’s and the international community’s efforts to promote the peace process.

UNESCO’s responsibilities address culture, science and education. UNESCO has remained silent in the face of significant change across the Middle East yet has found time during its current meeting to adopt six decisions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The decision to grant the Palestinians membership of UNESCO will not advance their desire for an independent state whatsoever.

Israel thanks the United States, Germany, Latvia and Romania who opposed the decision.”

Israel Political Brief October 5, 2011: Palestinian Authority Pushes for Full UNESCO Membership



PA Pushes for Full UNESCO Membership

Source: Virtual Jerusalem, 10-5-11

The Palestinian Authority is losing no time is pushing its agenda of gaining diplomatic ground as a full member in as many United Nations committees and agencies as possible, in the context of gaining statehood via the international body, rather than negotiations with Israel.

Three diplomats speaking on condition of anonymity told the Associated Press Wednesday that the PA plans to request full member status on Wednesday at the executive board meeting of the United Nations Education Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO) in Paris.

The PA submitted its application to the U.N. Security Council last month, demanding full membership and recognitionsecurity council un as a sovereign nation with its boundaries along the 1949 Armistice Lines, and claiming much of Israel’s capital city, Jerusalem, as its own capital.

Currently the PA holds observer status in the U.N. and in UNESCO, but may have a good chance of winning full membership, since the process for doing so is easier than it is in the full U.N.

However, this is not the first time the PA has attempted to gain full membership in UNESCO, and in the past, the attempt has failed. Israeli Ambassador to UNESCO, Nimrod Barkan, told the Associated Press that he is trying to persuade other members “not to politicize” the agency and to “leave this subject to New York.”

Barkan commented that “The tragedy is that this hampers UNESCO from doing its real job. A relatively small minority is hijacking the organization for other purposes.”

U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen called on lawmakers to cut off U.S. funds to UNESCO if the PA effort succeeds this time.

The PA won partnership status this week in the European Union’s leading human rights body, the Council of Europe, and also is seeking membership in the World Trade Organization.

PA representatives are hoping in this way to pile up memberships in U.N. agencies as a means of forcing the membership issue in the general worldwide body.

The United States, a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, has already stated bluntly that it will exercise its veto to block the PA from gaining full membership in the U.N. if necessary. But it is not at all clear whether the entity has enough votes to pass such a resolution in any case. Nine votes are needed in the Council to approve the measure.

The Congress of the United States, which warned the PA not to go ahead with its unilateral statehood bid, meanwhile has made good on its threat to cut off funding in response, leaving a number of aid programs scrambling for support and causing concern among government officials from the White House to Ramallah. Promises of aid from Arab nations pledged at donor conferences that never materialized left the PA largely dependent on funding from Western nations — most prominent among them the United States.


Israel Brief October 5, 2011: New “Zionation” Mobile App for iPhone – Android Teaches about Zionism



New app teaches about Zionism

Source: JTA, 10-5-11

A new mobile app provides a database of information about Zionism and Israel.

The free “Zionation” app for iPhone and Android devices, developed by the World Zionist Organization’s Department for Diaspora Activities, includes a Zionist calendar that marks and provides background information on significant dates in the history of Zionism and the State of Israel.

The app, which supports Hebrew, English and Spanish, also notifies users about conferences and events occurring in their communities or around the world.

Gusti Yehoshua-Braverman, the co-chair of the Department for Diaspora Activities, said the app is designed to resonate with a younger Jewish generation.

“We believe that now more than ever, given the alienation among large segments of the Jewish community from the State of Israel, that it is our duty to encourage the younger generation to create their own Zionist Jewish identity based on knowledge and familiarity with major figures and historical events, values and achievements,” he said in a statement.

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