Palestinians attempt to gain full membership in second UN agency


( The Palestinians are reportedly preparing to gain full membership in the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), a U.N. agency, at the group’s upcoming meeting. 

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the U.N. General Assembly in September 2015. Credit: U.N. Photo/Cia Pak.

According to The Jerusalem Post, the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Tourism applied for membership for “Palestine” into the organization last year, and the item is on the agenda for UNWTO’s general assembly in China next week. A final Palestinian decision on whether to go ahead with the bid or withdraw is expected soon.

To gain membership, the Palestinians must secure two-thirds approval in a vote at the UNWTO assembly. 

“Israel has taken all diplomatic measures to block the request,” an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman told The Jerusalem Post. “We are not expecting any negative impact on Israel or its continued activity in the organization—the expected damage will be to the organization itself.”

If the Palestinian bid is successful, UNWTO would be the second U.N. organization in which the Palestinians have gained membership; the first was UNESCO. During the last year, UNESCO has passed several anti-Israel resolutions that have denied Israeli sovereignty and Jewish ties to Jerusalem and Hebron, two of Judaism’s holiest cities. 

Posted on September 8, 2017 .