The Palestinian Authority on Wednesday withdrew its bid to be recognized as a member state of the UN World Tourism Organization, diplomatic sources told The Jerusalem Post.
The UNWTO had been expected to approve the PA ’s membership at its General Assembly in China this week, but at the last moment – and after Israel anticipated defeat – the Palestinians agreed to delay the issue until the UN agency’s next General Assembly in 2019.
“This achievement was the result of a large Israeli effort,” the Foreign Ministry said. It credited the positive outcome to Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, who is in China at the head of an Israeli delegation. It also said that other countries were involved.
The request was part of the PA ’s campaign to secure unilateral recognition of statehood in world bodies, including at the UN.
To date, however, the PA has found success only at the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization which recognized it as a member state in 2011.
The UNWTO did not responded to media queries on the matter by press time nor did it issue any release on the matter.
Given the pro-Palestinian majority at the UN, Israel is often at the losing end of such PA proposals or resolutions.
Both the Obama and the Trump administrations have opposed all Palestinian unilateral efforts at statehood recognition, that is efforts to do so without negotiating with Israel.
The Trump administration has asked the Palestinians to hold off on such steps and so that it can move forward on a renewed peace effort.
The last US-brokered peace process fell apart in April 2014.
Should the new efforts fail, the PA is weighing a renewed push to become full-fledged members of the UN, a move that would need the approval of the Security Council.
The Palestinians would need the approval of nine of the Security Council’s 15 members. It’s presumed, however, that the US would use its veto power to block such a move.
The US holds that Palestinian statehood is best achieved through a final-status agreement with Israel for a two-state solution.