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PA withdraws UN tourism agency membership bid

September 14, 2017 at 12:18 pm

Palestinians shop at the market in preparation for Eid. Sellers and vendors have seen a decrease in customers due to the austerity Palestinians are facing due to PA’s policies. [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

The Palestinian Authority (PA) withdrew its bid for membership of the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNTWO) yesterday, according to various media reports.

Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported that the chair of UNTWO announced yesterday that “the Palestinian proposal will be postponed until the organisation’s next plenary meeting in two years”.

The vote was expected to be carried by the required two-thirds majority, which would have made Palestine a member state of the body.

An unnamed senior White House official cited by Haaretz “said the decision to backtrack…was an internal Palestinian Authority decision”.

According to the official, President Mahmoud Abbas recently promised Trump administration officials Jason Greenblatt and Jared Kushner that the Palestinians “wouldn’t renew their attempts to push through unilateral decisions against Israel in the UN”.

Read: Israel campaigns against Palestine joining UN tourism body

The official added that the Americans had “made it clear to the Palestinians that advancing the resolution at the UN’s tourism agency does not meet align with the Abbas’ promise to Trump”.

The Israeli government, meanwhile, was triumphant about the PA’s decision to backdown, describing the “achievement” as “the result of a large Israeli effort”. A Foreign Ministry statement credited the work of Tourism Ministry Yariv Levin and also claimed “other countries were involved”.