- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 20, 2005

LONDON — John R. Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is protesting U.N. funding for Palestinian celebration props to accompany Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank, calling it “inappropriate and unacceptable.”

Mr. Bolton’s public protest offered an early signal that he intends to maintain a high profile as America’s new representative to the world body.

Jewish groups reacted with fury to banners, mugs, bumper stickers and T-shirts bearing the slogan “Today Gaza, Tomorrow the West Bank and Jerusalem,” which bore the U.N. Development Program (UNDP) logo.

Israelis view the slogan, and particularly the reference to Jerusalem, as an incitement to the destruction of the Jewish state.

The dispute became even more acrimonious when UNDP officials said that the logo should not have been used but defended the slogan.

UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervis responded to a complaint from the American Jewish Congress by saying that the UNDP “cannot be involved in political messaging” and it was “not at all acceptable” that its logo was used.

But Timothy Rothermel, head of the organization’s Palestinian program, was quoted on Fox News as saying that the slogan was “consistent with the relevant U.N. resolutions and Security Council resolutions about the status of Palestine.”

Mr. Bolton, whose arrival at the United Nations was delayed by Senate Democrats, told the New York Sun that the UNDP’s response was not adequate.

He said that it was the financial backing, not the use of the logo, that was improper.

“Funding this kind of activity is inappropriate and unacceptable,” he said. “We plan to raise the issue with UNDP and with others.”

Democratic and some Republican senators blocked a Senate vote on Mr. Bolton’s nomination, prompting President Bush to bypass the Senate by appointing Mr. Bolton after Congress had adjourned.

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