Cantor, Ros-Lehtinen condemn UNESCO admittance of Palestine

Paul Conner Executive Editor
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Monday, two leading Republicans condemned the UNESCO vote to admit Palestine, essentially recognizes it as a state.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor called UNESCO’s Monday vote in Paris “an affront to the international peace process.”

“Americans will not stand for unilateral efforts by the Palestinian government to seek international recognition,” Cantor said in a statement. “We stand by Israel as our most valued ally in the region, and the Palestinian Authority must understand that peace is only achievable when the state of Israel is accepted and respected.”

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehntinen, Republican from Florida and chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, condemned the vote as “anti-Israel and anti-peace.”

“It rewards the Palestinian leadership’s dangerous scheme to bypass negotiations with Israel and seek recognition of a self-declared ‘Palestinian state,’” Ros-Lehntinen said, adding that move “takes us further from peace in the Middle East.”

Following UNESCO’s vote in Paris, the State Department announced it was cutting off funding to the organization, the Washington Post reported.

Ros-Lehtinen also called for Congress to pass a bill she has authored to cut off taxpayer funds to any United Nations organization that “grants upgraded status to Palestine.”

“Such strong action is the only way to deter other U.N. bodies from following in UNESCO’s footsteps, and to prevent U.S. taxpayer dollars from paying for biased entities at the U.N.,” she said in a statement.

Despite U.S. opposition, President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority made a significant push for statehood at September’s U.N. General Assembly without making any concessions that would benefit Israel.

On the campaign trail, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich condemned the vote and cheered the State Department’s decision to turn off the funding faucet.

“The vast anti-Israel faction at the United Nations will now try to use this vote as a first step toward full Palestinian recognition, giving voice to a government that counts terrorist organization Hamas as a key participant,” he said in a statement. ”

The United States must be prepared to suspend all funding to the United Nations if the General Assembly moves to recognize a Palestinian state under the control of Hamas.”

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