UN tourism agency postpones vote on PA’s membership bid due to Israeli pressure

Due to severe diplomatic pressure from Jerusalem and Washington, the UN’s World Tourism Organization has decided to postpone the vote on the Palestinian Authority’s membership request. The vote, which was supposed to take place today, has been moved to 2019.
PA leader Mahmoud Abbas Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

Over the past few days, Israel has been working to convince the UN’s World Tourism Organization to reject the Palestinian Authority’s request to become an official member. On Wednesday, due to the pressure from Israel and the US, the organization announced that the vote on the matter, which was slated for today, has been postponed.  

The chairman of the UN agency announced at a conference in China that the vote will take place at the next UNWTO plenary session in 2019. On the Israeli side, Foreign Affairs Ministry officials and Tourism Minister Yariv Levin were in contact with senior level UNWTO members and the representatives from European countries when they were attempting to prevent the PA from joining the organization.

Yesterday, Channel 2 News was the first to report that the PA is asking to upgrade its status even though it promised US President Donald Trump that it would not make any drastic moves ahead of the UN General Assembly. Over the past few years, the Palestinians have not asked to change their status within the UN and international agencies and thus the request to become a member of the UNWTO was unexpected.

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