November 1, 2011
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will convene a meeting with his eight senior ministers on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of imposing sanctions on the Palestinian Authority after it was granted full membership from UNESCO.
According to a senior Israeli official, it is still unclear whether a decision will be reached on Tuesday, but various proposals aimed at taking punitive measures against the Palestinians are expected.
|Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, right.
|Photo by: Tomer Appelbaum and Reuters
Among the ideas are cancelling the VIP status of senior Palestinian officials which enables them to cross through Israeli checkpoints, increasing settlement construction, and halting the transfer of tax money which Israel collects for the Palestinian Authority.
Earlier Monday, UNESCO accepted the Palestinian Authority as a full member of the organization.
In response, the U.S. decided to cut off funding for the UN cultural body. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Monday that since the vote triggered a long-standing congressional restriction on funding to UN bodies that recognize Palestine as a state before an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal is reached.
Following the vote on Palestinian membership, Israel also warned it will now reconsider its cooperation with UNESCO.
UNESCO is the first UN agency that the Palestinians sought to join as a full member since Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas applied for full membership of the United Nations on Sept. 23.
The motion to admit the Palestinians was passed at a UNESCO meeting in Paris, with 107 votes in favor, 14 against and 52 abstentions.
The United States, Canada and Germany voted against Palestinian membership. Brazil, Russia, China, India, South Africa and France voted in favor. Britain abstained.