International Atomic Energy Agency recognizes Palestine as a state

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Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon said the agreement was a “violation of international conventions.”

By YOSSI MELMAN/MAARIV, JERUSALEM POST STAFF

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) signed an agreement to recognize Palestine as a state as it joined the international body on Tuesday.

The agreement, which was signed by Director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency Yukiya Amano and the Palestinian Ambassador in Vienna Salah Abdul Shafi, gives the IAEA inspectors the ability to check the safety of radioactive materials and fissile nuclear materials, such as uranium.

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While the Palestinian Authority, has no nuclear reactors, it does have physics departments in hospitals and universities, which have medical equipment containing components of nuclear materials.

Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon said the agreement was a “violation of international conventions.”

This act is seen by Israel as a push by the PA for international recognition, similar to when the PA joined UNESCO in 2011 and the Universal Postal Union in 2018.

The agreement puts Israel, the IAEA, and the Palestinian authority in a challenging situation, as it is not yet clear how the IAEA will define the territory and borders of a Palestinian State.

Furthermore, Israel has never signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, an international treaty with most of the world that has the goal of preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. While Israel does not claim it has nuclear weapons, it does not deny it possess any either. Thus, Israel only allows the IAEA to visit designated areas with supervision. It is widely speculated that Israel has a nuclear facility outside the southern city of Dimona.

“This is another attempt by the Palestinian Authority to join international organizations in order to exploit them for political purposes,” the Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.

“Israel does not recognize the attempts of the PA to join such organizations and such institutions as state, and Israel views this as a violation of international agreements.”

The IAEA spokesperson told The Jerusalem Post’s sister Hebrew newspaper, Maariv, that “The agreement does not in any way imply an expression of a position regarding the legal status of any state or territory or its powers or demarcation of its borders.”

Because of a law from the 1990s, the US is prohibited from funding any UN organization that gives full membership to a group that does not have “internationally recognized attributes” of statehood, according to Reuters. While the IAEA was established as an autonomous organization, it does report to the UN. It is not yet clear how the US will react. As of 2016, the US contributed $200 million annually in assessed and voluntary contributions to the IAEA, according to the Congressional Research Service.

 

Yvette J. Deane translated this article. 

 

 

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