After being granted full membership at the United Nations’ cultural agency UNESCO, the Palestinian Authority is seeking to become a member of the World Health Organization and of 15 smaller UN agencies. The forum of eight senior Israeli government ministers will convene later today to discuss Israel’s response to the matter.
A source at the foreign ministry said that the Palestinian Health Minister, Fathi Abu Moghli, was sent last week by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to meet with the chief of the WHO office in the West Bank, and updated him on the Palestinians’ intention to apply for full membership in the organization.
Meanwhile, Ibrahim Khraishi, the top Palestinian envoy at the UN in Geneva, told the Associated Press on Tuesday about the Palestinian bid to become members of additional organizations.
“Now we are studying when we are going to move for full membership on the other UN agencies,” Khraishi said. “It’s our target for (us to join) the international organizations and the UN agencies.”
A foreign ministry source said that some of the bodies the Palestinians seek to join are
The UN’s World Intellectual Property Organization, the International Telecommunication Union, The International Labor Organization and the International Atomic Energy Agency.
UNESCO is the first UN agency that the Palestinians sought to join as a full member since Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas applied for full membership in the United Nations in September.
The motion to admit the Palestinians was passed at a UNESCO meeting in Paris, with 107 votes in favor, 14 against and 52 abstentions. The United States, Canada and Germany voted against Palestinian membership. Brazil, Russia, China, India, South Africa and France voted in favor. Britain abstained.
On Monday, the Obama administration decided to cut off funding for UNESCO because it approved the Palestinian membership bid.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says Monday’s vote triggers a long-standing congressional restriction on funding to UN bodies that recognize Palestine as a state before an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal is reached.