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Israel resigned to Palestinians winning UNESCO entry: envoy

Should Palestinians gain entry after Monday's UNESCO general assembly vote in to the UN cultural body, Israel will join the US in withdrawing funding

AFP , Monday 31 Oct 2011
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There will be a vote and the Palestinians will win UNESCO entry, Israeli envoy Nimrod Barkan said. "That's the headcount that we have," he said of the Palestinian membership bid that requires a two-thirds majority of its 193 voting members to succeed.

Staunch Israel ally the United States in the 1990s banned the financing of any United Nations organisation that accepts Palestine as a full member, meaning the body would lose $70 million, or 22 percent of its annual budget.

Barkan said that Israel would likely join the US in withdrawing funds -- another around three percent of UNESCO's budget -- although "it will make it impossible for UNESCO to fulfil its mission."

"I don't think we will continue to pay our annual dues and we will follow the Americans in this, so about a quarter of funding will be taken away... it will make it impossible for UNESCO to fulfil its mission."

With the Palestinians also seeking membership of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Barkan said: "There is potential for a cascading effect of this resolution on many other UN specialised agencies and in New York."

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