P.A. ready to join dozens of U.N. agencies

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Palestinian Authority said it can join dozens of U.N. agencies, but has held off as the United States attempts to revive the peace process.

Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Monday that the legal work has been prepared to allow the P.A. to join 63 U.N. agencies and conventions.


He said the Palestinians are working to make sure that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry succeeds in restarting the stalled peace negotiations.

“Make no mistake, we are exerting every possible effort in order to see that Mr. Kerry succeeds,” Erekat said. “No one benefits more from the success of Secretary Kerry than Palestinians, and no one loses more from his failure than Palestinians.”

Erekat also said Monday that the Palestinians have no conditions to resume negotiations with Israel, saying that a settlement freeze and the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails were obligations that Israel must fulfill.

The Palestinian Authority was upgraded last November at the United Nations  to a non-member observer state. After that, it was approved for membership in UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the only U.N. agency it has joined to date.

The United States cut UNESCO funding in the wake of the vote and Israel severed contact with the organization.

On Monday, Israel canceled a UNESCO inspection of sites in Jerusalem’s Old City, saying the Palestinians had politicized the agency’s visit.