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IPS & Reuters Articles: "U.S. Halts UNESCO Funding After Palestinian Vote"

"The status quo - in which Israel continues to pursue policies that are anathema to the two-state solution and in which the Obama administration is unable or unwilling to exercise convincing leadership to restore credibility to its peace policy - will lead only to further isolation and marginalisation of both Israel and the United States in the international community," the group (Americans for Peace Now) warned.

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IPS: "U.S. Halts UNESCO Funding After Palestinian Vote"

By Jim Lobe*

WASHINGTON, Oct 31 (IPS) - The administration of President Barack Obama announced Monday that it would immediately cut U.S. funding for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, just hours after UNESCO's governing board voted overwhelmingly to grant Palestine full membership.

State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland, who noted that Washington had been scheduled to pay 60 million dollars in dues to UNESCO next week, said the cut was required under legislation that bans U.S. contributions to the U.N. or any of its specialised agencies that grants Palestine membership as a state.

"Today's vote by the member states of UNESCO to admit Palestine as a member is regrettable, premature and undermines our shared goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East," she said, insisting that Washington still supports Palestinian statehood but only if it is "realised through direct negotiations" with Israel.

Those negotiations have been held up for more than a year as a result of Israel's refusal to freeze its settlement expansion in the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza, as demanded by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

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Reuters: "US halts UNESCO funding over Palestine vote"

Tue, 1 Nov 2011

(excerpt)

The language was intended to pre-emptively block normalization of Palestinian relations and activities in the international community, said Lara Friedman, policy director at Americans for Peace Now, an American Jewish group.

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