Israel Will Cut $6M Funding to UN Agencies

(JTA) — Israel will cut approximately $6 million of its annual contribution to United Nations’ bodies it deemed “anti-Israel,” following the passage by the U.N. Security Council of an anti-settlement resolution.

The resolution adopted last month — for which 14 countries voted in favor with only the U.S. abstaining — called Israeli settlements “a flagrant violation of international law” that damage the prospects of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the resolution and said he was planning to cut Israeli aid to U.N. bodies, according to the Israeli daily Maariv.

The funding cuts represent “an act of protest” in response to the Security Council resolution and target “the portion of the U.N. budget allocated to anti-Israel bodies,” said a Friday statement by Israel’s U.N. mission.

Those bodies include the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, the Division for Palestinian Rights, the Work of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, and the Special Information Programme on the Question of Palestine of the U.N. Department of Public Information.

Israel’s annual contribution to the United Nations amounts to over $40 million, a spokesman for Israel’s U.N. mission told JTA in an email. The U.N.’s budget for 2016-2017 totals $5.4 billion, with the U.S. being the largest contributor, followed by Japan and China.

Israel’s decision to cut funds is “the first in a series of steps under consideration by the Foreign Ministry and the Israeli Mission in reaction to the recent Security Council resolution,” said the statement.

The mission is planning to move ahead with additional initiatives after the Donald Trump takes office on January 20.

Trump had called for a U.S. veto of the resolution, and slammed President Barack Obama after the vote for treating Israel with “total disdain and disrespect.”

American presidents have long protected Israel from extreme censure at the U.N. As recently as 2011, Obama vetoed a similar resolution on settlements that, like this one, was adamantly opposed by Israel.

On Thursday, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, urged the U.S. to cut taxpayer funding to the U.N., unless the international body repeals the anti-settlement resolution, according to a statement.

 

Author

Josefin Dolsten

Josefin Dolsten is a news fellow at the Forward. She writes about politics and culture, and edits the Sisterhood blog. She received an MA in Jewish Studies and Comparative Religion from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a BA in Government from Cornell University. Contact her at dolsten@forward.com and follow her on Twitter at @josefindolsten .

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Israel Will Cut $6M Funding to UN Agencies

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