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Palestine joins 2 UN bodies, chemical weapons treaty

Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations Riyad Mansour (C) arrives for a press briefing following a UN Security Council meeting concerning the violence at the border of the Gaza Strip, at the UN headquarters, May 15, 2018, in New York City. (AFP photo)

The Palestinian Authority (PA), which represents the Palestinians internationally, has joined two major United Nations agencies and a global treaty to ban the spread of chemical weapons, amid threats from the United States to cut funds to those organizations in case Palestinians obtain accession.

In a Wednesday address to the United Nations Security Council, Nickolay Mladenov, who serves as the coordinator for the Middle East, said Palestinians’ membership in the three organizations had been finalized over a week ago.

“On May 15, Palestine acceded to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the Convention on the Prohibition, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons,” said Mladenov.

Palestine can seek membership of UN agencies and become a party to international treaties as it has the status of a non-member observer state at the UN.

However, the United States, as the closest ally to the Israeli regime, has opposed increasing the diplomatic profile of the Palestinians through such memberships. Washington has vowed it would cut funds to certain UN agencies and other organizations if they accept Palestinians.

The US government pulled out of the UNESCO last year, four years after Palestinians joined the UN cultural and education agency, a move that prompted the previous US administrations to withdraw some funding.

Palestine’s accession to the three UN bodies comes amid a diplomatic rift with the US over a decision by President Donald Trump last December to recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as Israeli capital.

Palestinian demonstrators chant slogans during clashes with Israeli forces along the border with the Gaza Strip east of Gaza City on May 18, 2018. (AFP photo)

The PA has fiercely criticized the move which was followed by the relocation of US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds on May 14 and sparked intensified clashes on the border between the occupied territories and the Gaza Strip. Palestinians have vowed to pursue the killing of more than 60 Palestinians during the protests at the International Criminal Court (ICC), where they are a state-party. They hope the UN would finally designate the killings, which came as part of a month-long Israeli action on protest on Gaza’s border, as a war crime.

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