U.S. cuts 22% of UNESCO budget for recognizing Palestine
By End the Lie
Today the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) voted with an overwhelming majority to admit Palestine which immediately resulted in a massive budget slash for the organization totaling some $80 million per year.
While I wholly support the Palestinian cause in their quest for statehood and relief from years of suffering at the hands of the Israeli government, I’m not going to weep over the United States refusing to hand over money that we don’t have in the first place.
In the mainstream coverage of this issue, one major thing is chronically ignored: we have absolutely no money.
It should be criminal for our government to continue signing us on to endless piles of debt to which we will be beholden for years to come, but unfortunately it is not and thus I’ll celebrate any spending cut no matter how small.
Then again, if we cut our absurdist military spending and imperialistic adventures the world over along with our bloated and inefficient intelligence community; we could offset the costs of funding UNESCO a great deal.
At this point any such cuts are unrealistic as the war profiteering industry is so heavily entrenched in Washington it would even make the parasitic financial industry blush.
Setting aside the fact that we don’t have the money to give UNESCO even if we wanted to, this selective treatment is unacceptable.
While we indeed have no money to speak of, if Palestine wasn’t recognized by UNESCO we would continue to hand over the $80 million per year.
The recognition of Palestine isn’t a legitimate reason to cut off funding. If the Obama administration said, “Sorry, we have no money at all so we can’t continue to give you millions of dollars we don’t have,” then I would have no objections, but they did not.
Instead, the White House is taking the position that admitting Palestine into UNESCO was “premature” and that it will undermine the quest for peace in the region.
Jay Carney, the spokesman for the White House, said, “Today’s vote at UNESCO to admit the Palestinian Authority is premature and undermines the international community’s shared goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East”.
This is the line parroted by Israel as well, although they continue to fail to present a shred of evidence that supports the position.
How exactly is UNESCO membership going to cause violence in the region? Logically, it would seem that the move would actually decrease violence as it is seen as a huge step forward by both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.
Unless Israel decides to utilize the move as justification for continuing their brutal assaults on Palestine, I cannot really see how this would undermine the goal of “comprehensive, just and lasting peace” in the region.
Why would Palestinian militants respond to an international victory by resorting to violence and thus further delegitimizing themselves in the eyes of peace loving individuals?
Peace does not seem like it is close at hand as both sides continue to attack one another after an Israeli air strike killed alleged Palestinian just this morning.
Since last week, 12 have been killed in Gaza and southern Israel, even after the Palestinian Islamic Jihad declared a cease-fire on Sunday.
Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu seems to have no interest in peace at all.
“There is no cease-fire,” he said. “I promise that the other side will pay even heavier prices than it has so far, until it stops firing.”
It is not international recognition of a Palestinian state that undermines the quest for peace in the Middle East and between Israel and Palestine, it is open threats and antagonizing language utilized by the likes of Netanyahu that undermines the peace process.
How can Palestinians be expected come to the table to negotiate with Israel when Netanyahu is openly saying he has no interest in a cease-fire or peace?
The leaders of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad have said that they would cease their attacks when Israel stopped conducting airstrikes.
But with Netanyahu and other Israeli hard-liners expressing no interest, how can peace be brought about?
The claim that UNESCO admittance would undermine the non-existent peace effort simply defies all logic, but then again I’m constantly astounded by the ridiculousness of Washington and the bought-and-paid-for politicians that plague it.
The spokeswoman for the State Department, Victoria Nuland, said that the United States would withhold a $60 million payment to UNEESCO that would have been delivered in November.
This is due to a U.S. law which automatically restricts funding to the United Nations bodies that recognize a Palestinian state without a Palestinian-Israeli peace deal being reached beforehand.
“The United States remains steadfast in its support for the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state, but such a state can only be realized through direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians”, Nuland said.
While Washington continues to criticize the unilateral Palestinian bid for statehood, they have never presented an alternative solution to the problem.
I must emphasize the fact that this funding cut will not cause UNESCO to collapse, in fact it survived for two decades after Ronald Reagan pulled out of UNESCO during his presidency.
While the clearly politicized cut is not ideal, we simply do not have the money to spend even if the White House wanted to.
I must also point out that this admission to UNESCO is no more detrimental to the peace process than the actions of Netanyahu and others in Israel who continue to oppress the people of Palestine.
Until meaningful change occurs and a radical new approach to the problem is taken, I believe that we will continue to see horrific bloodshed, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
Unfortunately the Israeli leadership does not seem to be making any efforts to that end and thus the Palestinians are attempting to outmaneuver them in the international arena in order to gain recognition as their own state, which will not officially occur so long as the United States pledges to veto any bid at the Security Council.