PA Suspends Bid to Join U.N. Tourism Body

The United Nations building, in New York. (Serge Attal/Flash90)

YERUSHALAYIM - The Palestinian Authority backed down on its request to become a member state in the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) amid American and Israeli pressure, a source in Yerushalayim told The Times of Israel.

The vote on the request, which was supposed to take place Wednesday, was postponed until the organization’s next plenary session, in two years.

The Foreign Ministry welcomed the decision and said it was due to “great Israeli efforts spearheaded by [Tourism] Minister Yariv Levin, who led the Israeli delegation.”

According to the agenda for UNTWO’s 22nd session, which began Monday in Chengdu, China, the PA was up for membership, along with the Union of the Comoros and the Federal Republic of Somalia. To become a member, the Palestinians would have required a two-thirds majority vote.

When White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and his team met PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah last month, they reportedly asked the Palestinians for a three- to four-month grace period to present a peace plan. During that time, the Americans reportedly asked the Palestinians to refrain from their efforts to pursue recognition from international bodies.