Practically speaking, UNESCO membership for Palestine doesn’t bring it any closer to actual statehood. But with the Palestinians’ bid for full UN membership stalled because of an almost-certain US veto on the United Nations Security Council, the Palestinian Authority has opted to move forward by pushing for membership at individual UN agencies, such as UNESCO, the Associated Press reports.
Palestinian Authority spokesman Ghassan Khatib called the vote “a vote of confidence from the international community,” implying it was a victory in the battle of perception. "We look at this vote as especially important because part of our battle with the Israeli occupation is about the occupation[’s] attempts to erase the Palestinian history or Judaizing it. The UNESCO vote will help us to maintain the Palestinian traditional heritage, " he said, according to AP.
With UNESCO membership, it will likely be easier to gain heritage status for historical sites in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The UNESCO membership could further complicate Quartet efforts to resume peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.