Jerusalem, March 30: On Wednesday Israel proclaimed a $2-million cut in its contribution to the United Nations budget. The Israel announced this because of because of constant criticism by the UN Human Rights Council of its policies towards the Palestinians.The Israeli Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the “obsessional discrimination against Israel on the part of the United Nations and its agencies” was the reason for the cut. Instead of funding to the UN Budget, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “decided to allocate the 2 million dollars to international aid and to investment in developing countries which support Israel in international bodies”, it said.
After the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution condemning Israel’s settlement activity in December 2016, helped by the abstention of the Obama administration despite its close ties to Israel, then-President-elect Donald Trump condemned the U.N. as unfairly treating Israel. After the vote, Israel pledged to cut $6 million in funding for “anti-Israel” U.N. agencies in 2017. Israel continues to have a burdened relationship with the world body that it views as unfairly focusing on its actions. Last week, a United Nations rights expert issued a blistering criticism of Israel’s policies, deepening a row over alleged anti-Israel bias within the UN following US pressure.
The U.N. Human Rights Council has an agenda item, known as Agenda Item Seven, for only one country: Israel. U.N. officials are regularly critical of Israel, too. Last week, Michael Lynk, the U.N. official tasked with overseeing East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, alleged that Israel participated in “the subjugation of [Palestinians’] humanity.” Another U.N. agency, the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), said in a report released earlier this month that Israel was imposing an “apartheid regime” on the Palestinians. The report caused anger in Israel and Washington.
The Jewish state and its supporters, notably in Washington, have repeatedly accused the council of disproportionately targeting Israel. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has publicly threatened to withdraw from the council over its “biased agenda item against Israel”. It is this focus on Israel and its policies that the government and its supporters say is an unfair playing field in the international arena. The Palestinians say one of the only paths they have to resolve the conflict is through international bodies such as the U.N.