A post on the Volokh Conspiracy by Eugene Kontorovich from Tuesday caught my eye. He was discussing the demand of 28 US senators that funding for the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change be stopped. The reason that they were demanding that US funding to this UN agency be stopped is that the Palestinian Authority has been accepted by that agency as a “state party”.
Federal law bars any funding for U.N. agencies or affiliates that “grants full membership as a state to any organization or group that does not have the internationally recognized attributes of statehood.” In the official U.S. view, “Palestine” is not a state. Thus when the Palestinian Authority joined the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2011, it triggered federal defunding of that organization. Now, federal law requires a similar cessation of any funding to UNFCCC.
The purpose of Professor Kontorovich’s article to speculate what might happen if the Obama Administration ignored the clear law that prohibits the funding. However, for my purposes, the article made me speculate how this law could be used to cut funding of the UN’s gun control efforts.
The Arms Trade Treaty is administered by UN Trust Facility Supporting Cooperation on Arms Regulation or UNSCAR. While the United States has not ratified the treaty, it is a signatory to it. The Arms Trade Treaty seeks to control not only major weapons systems but also small arms and ammunition. As of now, the Palestinian Authority is not considered a “state representative” to UNSCAR insofar as I can tell. That said, UNSCAR has two current projects going in the Arab and Middle Eastern states.
It would be in the interest of gun rights NGOs like the National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment Foundation to lobby to get the Palestinian Authority full recognition as a state and full membership in UNSCAR. While neither organization nor its members usually have much love for the Palestinian Authority given its connections to Hamas and the PLO, getting them recognized as a state representative does cut potential funding for more international gun control efforts.
In my view, that is a good thing.