December 14, 2011
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement regarding today’s raising of the Palestinian flag at the headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), six weeks after UNESCO’s General Conference voted to grant membership to “Palestine”:
“The raising of the Palestinian flag at UNESCO headquarters rewards and reinforces the Palestinian leadership’s refusal to meet its obligations and directly negotiate a true and lasting peace with Israel. Asserting the existence of a Palestinian state does not make it so. It only makes real peace harder to achieve.
“The only thing deterring more UN bodies from following in UNESCO’s reckless, anti-peace footsteps is the credible threat of a U.S. funding cutoff, as U.S. law requires. Money talks at the UN. We must stand strong and resist efforts to restore funding to UNESCO, as that would signal that it’s open season for the Palestinian statehood scheme at the UN.
“The problem here is the UN’s irresponsible and biased behavior, not U.S. law. We must stand by our laws, stand by our values, and stand by our ally Israel and maintain this funding cutoff unless and until UNESCO reverses its decision to admit a Palestinian state.”
BACKGROUND: Ros-Lehtinen is the author of the United Nations Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act (H.R. 2829), which seeks to change the way in which the UN is funded in order to give member-states control over what their contributions pay for at the UN, as well as leverage to press for real UN reform. The bill contains a provision that reinforces and strengthens current U.S. law by cutting off U.S. funding to any UN entity which grants membership or any other upgraded status to the Palestinian mission.