Palestine Foreign Ministry to Sputnik: US Pullout From UNESCO ‘Highly Political’


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The Palestinian Foreign Ministry has told Sputnik it laments that Washington has decided to quit UNESCO over “anti-Israel bias,” but noted that the organization will keep operating.

“We lament the move, which is highly political in an organization that intends to limit its scope of operation and focus to the cultural, educational and heritage dimensions … We are confident that the organization can survive such behavior, in the same way it survived previous similar intimidations in the past, will maintain protecting the total independence and professionalism of the organization.

The US State Department announced on Thursday that Washington would leave the UN cultural body by the end of 2018, stating that the organization needs to be reformed. The US move was followed by a similar step from Israel, which announced its own withdrawal from organization just several hours later.

This was not the first time the US has exited the international organization. President Ronald Reagan withdrew the US from UNESCO in 1983, but President George W. Bush rejoined the organization in 2003.

The US also moved to stop funding UNESCO in 2011 when Palestine became a full member of the organization.