Palestinian Membership in UN Agencies: Mandatory Defunding under U.S. Law

(Kohelet Policy Forum) Eugene Kontorovich - U.S. law prohibits funding UN "affiliated organizations" that accept the Palestinian Authority (PA) as a member state. In the past two years, the PA has been accepted into four such organizations, two of them in the past months. Yet thus far, none of these organizations have had their funding stopped. The PA has a strategy of seeking statehood through international recognition rather than as the result of negotiations with Israel. Such international recognition only hardens Palestinian positions and encourages the Palestinians to make maximalist and unrealistic demands in the peace process, while politicizing the technical agencies involved. Any Middle East peace plan will require U.S. assurances to Israel in the event the Palestinians take certain hostile measures. If the U.S. will not abide by its own statutes when doing so might be uncomfortable, it can hardly be expected to do so with mere diplomatic assurances. Moreover, a failure to implement the funding restrictions will only encourage the PA to step up its "internationalization" campaign. If cutting funding impedes the functioning of these organizations, the solution consistent with U.S. law is not to continue funding, but rather defunding to pressure the PA to quit the organizations it has already joined. The writer is a professor at Northwestern University School of Law and head of the international law department at the Kohelet Policy Forum in Jerusalem.

2018-07-13 00:00:00

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