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Citing 'bias,' Israel cuts UN funding

Israel has again cut funding to the UN over alleged anti-Israel bias in the world body. The United States has threatened to do the same.

Israel announced on Wednesday it is cutting payments to the United Nations by $2 million (1.9 million euros) due to alleged bias against the Jewish state.

The foreign ministry said in a statement the decision was designed to "rectify the discriminatory treatment of Israel obsessively pursued by the UN and its agencies."

Israel had already reduced its UN contributions by $6 million from nearly $12 million after a UN Security Council resolution was passed in December sharply criticizing illegal settlement building on land the Palestinians claim for a future state.

The $2 million cut will be "allocated to the expansion and extension of Israeli international development projects in developing countries that support Israel in international institutions," the foreign ministry said.

Earlier this week, UN Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov told the UN Security Council in his first report since December's resolution that there was a spike in new Israeli settlements, indicating "a clear intent to continue expanding the settlement enterprise in the occupied Palestinian territory."

Israel and its allies, most notably the United States, have long accused the UN of bias against Israel.

US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, speaking in Washington at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference earlier this week, said the United States would never allow "Israel-bashing" at the world body.

She told the biggest Israeli lobby group that December's UN resolution was a "kick in the gut" to all Americans. The resolution passed after the United States in a rare move abstained from voting, allowing the measure to pass.

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The United States is also mulling cutting funding to the UN over alleged discrimination against Israel. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has threatened to withdraw the United States from the UN rights council over its "biased agenda item against Israel."

Last week, UN special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories, Michael Lynk, criticized Israel's "subjugation of (Palestinians') humanity" and crackdown on human rights groups.

The comments were part of a mandated UN rights council meeting on Israel, known as Agenda Item Seven.

Israel is the only country to face a mandated rights council agenda item.

The criticism came after earlier this month UN official Rima Khalaf resigned after coming under pressure to retract a report in which Israel was accused of being an "apartheid state."

cw/bw (AFP, AP)

 

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