Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Tel Aviv will cut $1 million in UN funding over an anti-Israel resolution recently approved at the world body’s cultural agency.
The resolution, tabled by Qatar, Egypt, Lebanon, Algeria, Morocco, Oman, and Sudan, was passed 22-10 with 23 abstentions at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)’s Paris headquarters on Tuesday.
It described Israel as the "occupying power" and accused the regime of taking measures “to alter the character and status of the holy city of Jerusalem [al-Quds]."
It further criticized Tel Aviv for carrying out "persistent excavations, tunneling, works and projects" in East Jerusalem al-Quds, particularly in and around the Old City.
Speaking at a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Netanyahu said, "UNESCO again accepted an absurd resolution yesterday about the status of Jerusalem,” warning that what he called the agency’s “systematic harassment has a price.”
The Israeli premier also noted that he had ordered the Foreign Ministry to "cut an additional $1 million from the money Israel transfers to the UN."
An Israeli official said Wednesday's cut was the third time in recent months Israel reduced its UN budget, putting the 2017 payments at $3.7 instead of the original $11 million.
Israel summons Swedish envoy
Separately on Wednesday, Israel summoned Swedish Ambassador to Tel Aviv Carl Magnus Nesser as the Scandinavian state was the only European country to vote for the UNESCO resolution.
“The senior officials expressed their bitter disappointment over Sweden’s vote at UNESCO. This is a vote against Israel, part of a systematic voting pattern,” Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon said.
Last October, UNESCO adopted a similar resolution, which strongly condemned "the escalating Israeli aggression and illegal measures against… the freedom of worship and Muslims’ access to their holy site al-Aqsa Mosque/al-Haram al-Sharif."
Israel occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds during the 1967 war and later annexed it, declaring the whole city its indivisible capital despite outcry by the international community.
The occupied Palestinian territories have witnessed new tensions ever since Israeli forces introduced restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds in August 2015.
More than 300 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces since October 2015, when the tensions in the occupied lands intensified.