UN plan calls for $18m to aid Palestinian legal efforts against Israel
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Sen. Ted Cruz protests 'shameful' idea

UN plan calls for $18m to aid Palestinian legal efforts against Israel

UN Development Assistance Framework says world body must help the Palestinians 'effectively access international mechanisms' to 'hold Israel accountable'

Eric Cortellessa covers American politics for The Times of Israel.

Illustrative: Member state representatives attend the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York on September 21, 2017.  (AFP/Jewel Samad)
Illustrative: Member state representatives attend the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York on September 21, 2017. (AFP/Jewel Samad)

WASHINGTON — The United Nations is hoping to designate roughly $18 million in the coming years toward aiding Palestinian efforts to put more pressure on Israel via international legal action.

In a recently released plan that outlines the world body’s support for the Palestinian Authority from 2018-2022, the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) includes a budgetary blueprint that would allocate millions of dollars to specifically help Palestinians pursue international legal avenues against Israel.

“This will include training, capacity-building and technical advice to ensure that Palestinian victims and institutions are equipped with the knowledge and tools to effectively access international accountability mechanisms in order to hold Israel accountable for its violations under international law,” the document says.

Those funds would be deployed to a conglomerate of different UN agencies, including the United Nation’s Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and UN Women.

They will also be used to “strengthen the capacity of Palestinian organizations to advocate effectively for the rights of Palestinians in the occupied territory” and help the UN with “its own advocacy on the impact of Israeli violations on Palestine’s development prospects, including through joint activities that clearly communicate the effect that the occupation and breaches of international law have on the ability of Palestine to develop economically, socially, environmentally and politically.”

The plan, which claims to present a “strategic framework” for utilizing the UN system’s resources in the Palestinian territories, calls for $18,124,000 for these purposes.

The amount of funds available from the specific agencies, however, equals $3,156,000. And so, UNDAF says that there will be a $14,968,000 gap that needs to be filled.

Such UNDAF reports are released every four years. The last one, which came out in 2014, does not include provisions that call for the use of legal recourse against Israel.

United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks at the UN Security Council on August 29, 2017 at UN Headquarters in New York. (AFP PHOTO / KENA BETANCUR)

The Trump administration has frequently castigated the UN for what it describes as its systematic targeting of the Jewish state.

Two weeks ago, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Washington intended to withdraw from UNESCO, the UN’s cultural agency, for what it called its “anti-Israel bias.”

After that decision was announced, Haley warned the entire UN that other agencies risked the same treatment if they did not reform.

Senator Ted Cruz (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, told the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard the UNDAF proposal was “shameful” and would face resistance on Capitol Hill.

“I will continue to press all legislative options to ensure US taxpayer dollars are not used to implement, facilitate, or carry out this discriminatory plan undermining Israel,” he said.

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