Israel to cut $6 million dollars in UN funding over anti-settlement vote

Israel has announced that it is cutting approximately $6 million in its annual dues to the United Nations this year to protest last month’s Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements as “a flagrant violation under international law.”

The United States abstained from the December 23 vote, allowing the 15-member Security Council to adopt the resolution with 14 votes in favour. Israel and US President-elect Donald Trump say Washington should have wielded its veto.

“It is unreasonable for Israel to fund bodies that operate against us at the UN,” Israeli UN Ambassador Danny Danon said in a statement. “The U.N. must end the absurd reality in which it supports bodies whose sole intent is to spread incitement and anti-Israel propaganda.”

The bodies named by the mission included the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, the Division for Palestinian Rights, the committee investigating Israeli practices affecting Palestinian human rights, and information programs on “the Question of Palestine.”

The UN Security Council angered Israel last month when it adopted a long-sought resolution condemning Israeli settlements as “a flagrant violation under international law.”

While the US and Israel are close allies, relations between US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have occasionally been strained.

Israel’s decision to reduce its annual $40 million contribution to the UN is one of several steps it had said it would consider in the wake of the resolution. The mission also pledged to move forward with additional initiatives “aimed at encouraging structural change within the UN with the ultimate goal of ending anti-Israel activities” after Donald Trump becomes president of the United States on January 20.

The Palestinians want an independent state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, areas Israel captured in a 1967 war. Most countries and the United Nations view Israeli West Bank settlements as illegal and an obstacle to peace, including the US which is the biggest ally to Israel.

Israel disputes that settlements are illegal and says their final status should be determined in any future talks on Palestinian statehood

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