Tuesday, November 01, 2011

PLO Statement on UNESCO Membership and actions by Israel and US

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November 1st, 2011

Statement on UNESCO Membership

The General Delegation of the PLO to the US is pleased that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) accepted the State of Palestine as a full member during its session on October 31, 2011. With over 10,000 years of history, Palestine looks forward to finally take its rightful place among other nations of the world in this prominent institution. We hope this will help preserve the integrity of our cultural heritage after decades of Israeli negligence and abuse.

Meanwhile, we regret to see the U.S. Administration carry through its threat to freeze UNESCO funding for accepting Palestine’s legitimate right for membership when UNESCO provides critical assistance to many nations in education, children rights, women rights, and cultural heritage.

The General Delegation of the PLO to the US is surprised by the swiftness of the American response in withholding the aid, and can only hope this administration will exercise similar promptness in responding to Israeli violations of international law and defiance of US policy.

Statement Regarding the Latest Israeli Escalation in Gaza

The General Delegation of the PLO to the US condemns the latest unwarranted Israeli escalation in the Gaza Strip. Many of the casualties reported were unarmed civilians and not militants, in contrast to what mainstream publications reported. Moreover, Israeli warplanes continued their onslaught despite an Egyptian-mediated truce that went into effect Sunday at 10 P.M.  The latest round of strikes is another example of the Israeli domestic politics resulting in military escalation against the Palestinians.

Nonetheless, we remain committed to a non-violent solution to the conflict, and hope that all parties abide by the declared truce.

We are disappointed at the U.S. Administration’s lack of response to this latest escalation. The recent Israeli airstrikes on Gaza constitute violations of human rights, and the Israeli government’s continued settlement expansion is in direct opposition to U.S. policy.

 The General Delegation of the PLO to the US urges the U.S. Administration to display evenhandedness in handling the Mid-East conflict, and to take immediate steps to prevent Israeli transgression of Palestinian human rights, which undermines the peace process and aspirations for a just and lasting solution.

To arrange a media interview with Ambassador Maen Areikat, Chief Representative of the General Delegation of the PLO to the US, please contact Amro Jayousi on ajayousi@plodelegation.us or tel. 202-974-6360.

Distributed by the www.ArabAmericanNewsWire.com