The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) announced on Wednesday it will be postponing until its next session, in two years, a decision on allowing the Palestinian Authority to join the body as a full member.
The Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Tourism applied for membership for “Palestine” into the organization last year and it was expected to pass this week as the body gathers in China. Had the bid been successful, the UNWTO would have been the second UN organization, after UNESCO, to which the Palestinians gained full membership.
“Israel has taken all diplomatic measures to block the request,” an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman said ahead of the announcement. “We are not expecting any negative impact on Israel or its continued activity in the organization – the expected damage will be to the organization itself.”
The Trump Administrator is also said to have gotten involved, warning the Palestinians that their joining the organization could have consequences in their relations with the US.
The Palestinians have been attempting in recent years to gain access to international bodies in a bid to unilaterally gain recognition of its statehood and by doing so, bypassing peace negotiations with Israel.
The Israel Foreign Ministry’s spokesman said that Israel’s position is that the “State Of Palestine” does not exist, and therefore it cannot be accepted as a state in the UN or in any of its affiliated organizations.