Palestinians 'lament' US decision to leave Unesco over anti-Israel bias

Palestinian foreign ministry laments US decision to leave Unesco over anti-Israel bias

The US is leaving Unesco, it announced yesterday

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Palestinian foreign ministry has said it "laments" the US to decision to leave Unesco, but says the UN's culture body will go on.

The US announced its decision its withdraw from Unesco yesterday (October 12), along with Israel, following claims that the organisation is biased against the Jewish state.

A spokesperson for the Palestinian foreign minister told Sputnik: "We lament the move, which is highly political in an organisation that intends to limit its scope of operation and focuses on the cultural, educational and heritage dimensions."

The spokesperson also criticised the US for using membership as a way of looking out for the interests of Israel, despite the Jerusalem government's decision to build settlements in the Palestinian Territories.

"The US Government decides to stand by the occupiers, and the violators of the same principles and laws that the Unesco, as a UN organisation, was entrusted to protect," the spokesperson said.

They added that despite yesterday's double resignation, the organisation will continue as "it survived previous similar intimidations in the past, [and] will maintain protecting the total independence and professionalism of the organisation."

America has left Unesco before, in 1983, but then-President George Bush announced it would rejoin 20 years later.

In 2011 America also stopped financing Unesco, following the accession of the Palestinian Territories.