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Published on : Tuesday, September 12, 2017
A request filed by the Palestinian Authority last year for joining the UNWTO is slated to come to a vote this week at the body’s summit in Chengdu, China. For gaining acceptance, it needs approval from two-thirds of the UNWTO’s member states.
Vice President of the PA Mahmoud Al-Aloul (“Abu Jihad”) said, “All I can tell you in this regard is that President Mahmoud Abbas will give a speech in China.”
In response, Israel has embarked on a diplomatic campaign to block the PA’s request to join the UNWTO. According to a statement by the Israel foreign ministry, “Palestine is not a state and cannot be accepted as such in the United Nations or any of its affiliated organizations.”
In this respect, the latest move by the Palestinians to “internationalize” the conflict comes as U.S. President Donald Trump wishes to jump-start Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, having sent his top envoys to the region since he took to office. Accordingly, the proposed moves by the PA risk derailing the effort.
The latest row over the UN comes against the backdrop of the Arab League’s decision to green light a proposal by the PA to form a high-level committee whose purpose is to block Israel’s attempts to be elected as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.
Possibly, the Palestinian leadership is being driven by an absence in faith in Trump, or maybe the bid to join the UNWTO is simply a method of applying pressure on his administration, which is reportedly in the process of formulating a formal policy on the conflict.