31 October 2011
UNESCO approves Palestinian membership bid
The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) voted on Monday to admit Palestine as a member with the necessary two-third majority. The United States, Israel, and some EU Member States voted against the bid, revealing once again the lack of unanimity in European external relations policy. The approval of the bid is likely to cause the US government to cut off a substantial amount of its 60 million USD in annual funding to the body. The US has already threatened to withhold or actually withheld its contributions to UNESCO at earlier occasions and even withdrew from the Organization in 1984, rejoining only in 2003.
For a legal classification of the practice of withholding membership contributions to an international organization in light of the law of international responsibility see C. Ahlborn, ‘The Rules of International Organizations and the Law of International Responsibility’, ACIL Research Paper No 2011-03 (SHARES Series), in particular the discussion on countermeasures by member States of an international organization.