Published: Sat, October 14, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Israel plans to follow U.S. in exiting United Nations agency

Israel plans to follow U.S. in exiting United Nations agency

The US stopped funding UNESCO after it voted to include Palestine as a member state in 2011, but its State Department has maintained a UNESCO office and sought to weigh in on policy behind the scenes.

Washington intends to participate in the fulfillment by UNESCO of a number of its functions, including the protection of the world cultural heritage, the protection of press freedom, the promotion of scientific cooperation and the educational process.

As a permanent observer to the organization, the United States would still be able to voice its opinion about matters to the body, but not vote on issues as a member.

Professor Francois Heisbourg, chairman of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said the U.S. pullout could be seen as President Donald Trump sending a signal of support for the Israelis while underlining his "America First" policies. US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said, "As many of you know, we were in arrears to the tune of $550 million or so".

France is looking for more than just US support for Azoulay: It also wants continued global engagement from an administration that has been reluctant to do so.

But the United States has and it continues to be charged tens of millions in dues each year and has lost its voting rights in UNESCO's principal decision-making body, which is known as the General Conference.

Hua said that the principle of UNESCO is to boost global cooperation in education, science and culture, promote mutual understanding and integration between different cultures, and maintain world peace in order to achieve common development.

The United States announced Thursday that it is pulling out of UNESCO because of what the Trump administration sees as its anti-Israel bias and a need for "fundamental reform".

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Nikki Haley called the agency's designation of Hebron's Old City and the Tomb of the Patriarchs as Palestinian territory the latest of many "foolish actions" that led to the United States' decision to pull out of UNESCO.

Yosemite, Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon are World Heritage sites, because they are marvels for everyone, in all countries.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the decision to leave UNESCO "brave" and "moral".

"UNESCO has become a battlefield for Israel bashing and has disregarded its true role and goal", he said. "But I don't believe it's part of a broader pattern of disengagement by this administration". "We consider the USA must stay committed to world affairs".

The organization has a long history of taking anti-Israel measures, and supporting resolutions against the Jewish state.

The twin move comes after years of bickering at the organisation over the US' claim of "anti-Israel bias". The two front runners are the former French culture minister, Audrey Azoulay, and a Qatari diplomat, Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al-Kawari.

This partnership has been embodied in our interaction with the United States Geological Survey, with the US Army Corps of Engineers, with United States professional societies, to advance research for the sustainable management of water resources, agriculture.

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