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Israel Cuts $6 Million to UN Over Settlement Vote

  • VOA News

FILE - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement in front of a new construction, in the Jewish settlement known to Israelis as Har Homa and to Palestinians as Jabal Abu Ghneim, March 16, 2015

Israel says it is withholding about $6 million from its annual United Nations dues, following a U.N. Security Council resolution last month calling for an end to Israel’s “settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory.”

The United States abstained from voting on the measure, opening the way for the other 14 members of the Council to unanimously pass the resolution.

Israel’s U.N. mission said Friday the $6 million cut from its annual $40 million contribution to the world body represents funds that would be allocated to U.N. committees focused on Palestinian issues.

“It is unreasonable for Israel to fund bodies that operate against us at the U.N.,” Israeli U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon said in a statement.

The Israeli U.N. mission said it will take other steps aimed at “ending anti-Israel activities” after Donald Trump is sworn in as U.S. president.

House condemns vote

On Thursday, the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted in favor of a resolution condemning the U.N. stance and criticizing President Barack Obama’s administration for abstaining in the Security Council vote.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called the U.S. abstention on the U.N. resolution a “shameful” swipe against Washington’s traditional ally.

Palestinians support it

Palestinians, however, have hailed the vote, with former Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat calling it “a clear and unanimous message” to Netanyahu that his policies will not lead to peace or security for Israel or Palestinians.

More than 500,000 Israelis live in East Jerusalem and the West Bank in settlements that most world governments view as illegal. The Obama administration has called them “illegitimate.”

Citing biblical connections to the land and modern-day security concerns, Israel claims all of Jerusalem and the West Bank, territories seized during the Six-Day War of 1967.

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