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30 Mar, 2017 18:56

Tel Aviv cuts additional $2mn from annual UN contribution due to ‘anti-Israel discrimination’

Tel Aviv cuts additional $2mn from annual UN contribution due to ‘anti-Israel discrimination’

Tel Aviv is cutting another $2 million from its UN contribution this year in protest of what it calls the international body’s “obsessional discrimination” against Israel, saying the money will go to helping “friendly” developing nations instead.

The decision to slash the annual payment comes in response to “hostile resolutions adopted a few days ago by the UN’s Human Rights Council (UNHRC),” the Israeli Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon also accused the UN of “obsessional discrimination against Israel,” The Times of Israel reported.

Nahshon said the withheld funds will be used for development projects in countries that support Israel in international organizations. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesperson to the Arab media, Ofir Gendelman, also tweeted that the money will go towards “friendly” developing nations.

The decision comes after the UNHRC adopted five resolutions critical of Tel Aviv last week, all having to do with human rights abuses Israel has allegedly committed in the occupied Palestinian territories and Golan Heights.

Israel’s permanent representative to the UN, Danny Danon, spoke out against one of the resolutions on Twitter.

Also last week, the UN official tasked with overseeing East Jerusalem, Michael Lynk, said that Israel has participated in “the subjugation of [Palestinians’] humanity.”

Earlier this month, the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) published a report asserting that Israel was imposing an “apartheid regime” on the Palestinians. The statement created so much outrage in Tel Aviv and Washington that the agency’s chief was forced to resign.

Prior to the present cut, Israel withdrew $6 million of its 2017 UN contribution in January, citing “anti-Israel” UN agencies. That decision followed the passage of a UN resolution in December which demanded that an end be put to the construction of Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land – a move slammed by Israel as “shameful and absurd."

The decision to withdraw another $2 million will put Israel in arrears with the United Nations, as the General Assembly requires member states to pay a percentage of the world body’s regular budget based on their GDP.

Israel was expected to pay $11.7 million this year, or 0.43 percent of the regular budget, according to the UN Secretariat. However, the newest cut means it will only be paying $3.7 million, according to the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

Further cuts could mean problems for Israel in the future, as Article 19 of the UN Charter states that any country in arrears of its dues in an amount equal or greater to the contributions due for the two preceding years can lose its right to vote in the General Assembly.

Tel Aviv and Washington have long decried what they call UN bias against Israel, accusing the body of being pre-occupied with the Palestinian issue at the expense of other world crises.

Both the US and Israel have been particularly critical of the UN Human Rights Council, whose members include Saudi Arabia, Egypt, China, and Cuba.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has threatened to withdraw from the council over its “biased agenda item against Israel.”