The Palestinian Authority's admittance to UNESCO
as a full member is an achievement Israel
should be pleased with – or at least that's what Chief Palestinian Negotiator Saeb Erekat thinks.
"This is a victory for peace and a victory for the human race," he stressed while threatening: "Israel might find itself as the only authority from the Jordan River and to the sea". Palestinian officials have claimed that this is just the beginning.
Meanwhile, in Geneva the Palestinian envoy in Geneva said he believes that joining the UN agency for culture, education and science will "open the door" to joining 16 other UN agencies within weeks.
PA becomes full UNESCO member (Photo: EPA)
Ibrahim Khraishi told the Associated Press that Palestinian diplomats are now planning to capitalize on Monday's landslide vote to allow the Palestinians into UNESCO by preparing papers to join 16 other UN agencies without detailing which agencies were involved.
Israel has previously expressed concern over the possibility of the Palestinian Authority joining the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Speaking to Ynet on Tuesday, Erekat said that he was "a Palestinian born in the most ancient city in the world – Jericho and so it is only natural that Palestine would be a member of UNESCO. Israel should have cooperated with us on this matter but it chose settlements and not peace."
Erekat also criticized the US' conduct and expressed his disappointment over the US decision to carry out sanctions against UNESCO.
"After all, it is the US that says that it's in favor of a two-state solution – so why not admit us into the organization?" He wondered.
The UNESCO decision has led Israel to consider several methods to respond to the move.
While the controversial vote prompted Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to announce that Israel would "review its relations" with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, sources in Jerusalem said that Israel could respond by approving several "sensitive" housing plans.
The US was also enraged by the decision with the United States state department immediately announcing that it was suspending the financial support
given to the agency.
"Israel must understand that its threats won't work," Erekat said. "The threats on one hand and call for negotiations on the other hand are not beneficial. This month marked 20 years since the Madrid conference – Israel is interested in having these negotiations last forever. That's what Shamir said at Camp David and now Netanyahu is listening."
Erekat also mentioned his belief that "this comfortable situation – where the Palestinian Authority was not a state but is the body governing the Palestinians – will not last forever. Netanyahu must understand that we will not continue in this manner.
"The Palestinian Authority was founded as a body that would lead the Palestinians from occupation to independence. I am not threatening to have the Authority disbanded, but Israel might find itself as the only authority between the Jordan River and the sea," Erekat declared.
Associated Press contributed to the report