Israel working to thwart Palestinian bid to join UN tourism body as member state

Amid Palestinian threats to turn to international organizations if there is no movement on the diplomatic process, Israel is bracing for an expected Palestinian bid to seek full state membership next week in the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization. UNWTO is the UN agency “responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.”

If the Palestinians do apply for membership, and the bid is successful, it would be the second UN organization, after UNESCO, to which the Palestinians have full membership. In order to be accepted as a state in the WTO, the Palestinians will need two-thirds of the votes cast — abstentions are not counted. They are expected to garner the necessary majority, especially since countries who could be counted on to support Israel and vote against the move – such as the US, Canada and Australia – are not members of the WTO. The United Kingdom is also not a member.

“Israel has taken all diplomatic measures to block the request,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman said. “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.”