U.S. Mulls Cutting Funds to UN Agencies, Chemical Weapons Convention Over Palestinian Membership

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 10: Members of the U.N. Security Council vote on the third draft resolution to create a new inquiry to find blame for the chemical weapons attack last week in Douma, Syria during a United Nations Security Council meeting regarding the situation in Syria, April 10, …
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TEL AVIV – The United States is mulling cutting aid to two UN agencies and the chemical weapons convention after the Palestinians joined the organizations, a U.S official said Wednesday.

Palestinians have non-member observer status at the UN that allows them to join international treaties and agencies. However, the U.S. bars funding for those agencies that accept “Palestine.”

“It has been the consistent position of the United States that efforts by the Palestinians to join international organizations are premature and counterproductive,” a U.S. official said.

“We will review the application of U.S. legislative restrictions related to Palestinian membership in certain UN agencies and organizations,” the official added.

The Palestinians joined the UN trade development organization UNCTAD, industrial development agency UNIDO and the Chemical Weapons Convention, which is upheld by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), ostensibly in a move to bolster its profile at the international body.

“On May 15, Palestine acceded to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the Convention on the Prohibition, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons,” Nickolay Mladenov, the UN coordinator for the Middle East, told the Security Council.

Last week, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas recalled Palestinian envoys to the U.S. and four EU countries over their support for President Donald Trump’s decision to open the American embassy at its new location in Jerusalem.

In 2011, the U.S. cut funding for the cultural agency UNESCO when the Palestinians joined. Last year, following an anti-Israel resolution that denied Jewish ties to the Holy Land, the U.S. pulled out altogether.

This year the Trump administration also cut funds to the UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA.

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