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PLO: 'US risks isolating itself by alienating Palestinians'

Hanan Ashrawi warned Washington against alienating pro-Palestine multilateral organisations [AFP]

Date of publication: 16 October, 2017

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The PLO has warned that the US faces international isolation due to its decision to withdraw from the UN's cultural association UNESCO over its perceived anti-Israel bias.

The US faces isolation if it pulls-out of more international organisation - such as UNESCO - due to the perceived anti-Israel biases of these bodies, a senior member of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) warned on Sunday.

"If the US continues to threaten to withdraw from multilateral organisations that recognise Palestine, it will find itself outside most international bodies," PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi said.

"The US and Israel have taken an organisation with a mandate to contribute to peace and security through education, science and culture and have politicised it to a despicable degree in an effort to provide cover for Israeli impunity and lawlessness," according to Palestinian Authority (PA) news agency Wafa News.

She also said that the US and Israel "have decided to stand at odds with these basic principles and with an international organisation tasked with serving our basic humanity".

The US announced on Thursday its withdrawal from UNESCO after accusing the global body of "anti-Israel bias".

Israel followed Washington just hours later, with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu saying the US decision was "brave and moral".

The US was angered in 2011 when UNESCO members granted Palestine full membership, and withdrew funding from the organisation.

Israel has long accused the cultural body of bias, most recently in July when UNESCO declared the occupied West Bank town of Hebron as a Palestinian World Heritage site.

In July the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs slammed a UNESCO decision to label Israel as an "occupying power in Jerusalem", describing it as a "sad, unnecessary and pathetic" decision in a statement.

"Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people, and no UNESCO resolution will change this reality. The decision is sad, unnecessary and pathetic. It should be noted that the resolution did not even achieve a majority of the votes," the statement added.

 

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