The agency of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) admitted Palestine on Monday (31st) as a full member of the entity, in a vote held in the General Assembly of UNESCO in Paris.
"The General Assembly decided to admit Palestine as a member of UNESCO," says a resolution adopted by 107 of the 193 member countries. "This vote will erase a small part of the injustice committed against the Palestinian people," said Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki.
United States, Germany and Canada voted against, while Italy and the United Kingdom abstained. Almost all Arab countries, Africa and Latin America voted for Palestine to join. France, which had serious reservations, finally voted to join.
"The entry of Palestine takes the number of Member States of UNESCO to 195," UNESCO said in a statement issued immediately after the vote.
U.S. lawmakers threatened to withhold about $80 million in funding for the agency if the UNESCO approved the membership of Palestine, but most did not yield to pressure. The Americans claimed that the approval would undermine efforts to resume the peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.
These dialogues, however, have not led to any solution, because Israel remains intransigent and continues to build settlements in occupied Palestinian territory.
Palestinians have been trying to obtain full membership in the United Nations (UN), but as this would take some time, they asked for separate entry into UNESCO and should do the same with other agencies of the body.
Translated from the Portuguese version by: