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Palestine plans to join more UN agencies

world Updated: Nov 03, 2011 00:49 IST

Emboldened by their admission to the UN's cultural agency, the Palestinians plan to seek membership in other international bodies as part of their campaign for statehood.

They also are looking into a parallel and contradictory track: Having lost hope in peace talks with Israel, the Palestinians are threatening to dismantle their government in the West Bank - a move that would confront Israel with the uncomfortable prospect of directly ruling millions of Palestinians.

For now, though, the focus is on the United Nations. Elated by Unesco's decision to grant them membership, jubilant Palestinian officials said Tuesday that they wanted to seize the momentum and expand their presence at the United Nations.

"We have gotten a precedent that might open the road for us to join other agencies," said Ibrahim Khraishi, the Palestinian envoy to the UN in Geneva. He said the Palestinians are now studying whether they can join 16 other UN agencies.

Palestinian officials said that after Monday's Unesco vote, Palestinian health minister Fathi Abu Mughli was so excited that he rushed to the local offices of the World Health Organization to get information on joining.

The moves come as the Palestinians are increasingly seeking unilateral moves toward statehood that would bypass peace talks.

A key test of those efforts could come as soon as next week. The Palestinians have asked the UN Security Council to grant them full membership in the UN, and a vote is tentatively set for November 11.

The US, as a permanent member of the council, has promised to veto the request.