Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, voicing outrage at a U.N. Security Council vote calling for an end to further settlement activity in the occupied territories, said Saturday that he had ordered his government to stop funding five U.N. institutions.
Tel Aviv, Dec 24, 2016.- The vote passed the 15-member Security Council on Friday after the United States chose not to veto the resolution, as it has in numerous other instances when other council members sought to rein in Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
In televised remarks, Netanyahu said that his order would withhold nearly $8 million in funding to unnamed U.N. institutions and that “there is more to come.” He did not elaborate.
He said he had ordered his Foreign Ministry to review within a month all of Israel’s engagements with the world body, including all funding and the presence of U.N. representatives on Israeli soil.
Netanyahu called the U.S. abstention and the resolution itself “shameful” and said his government would ignore its provisions. He also recalled Israel’s ambassadors to New Zealand and Senegal — two of the resolution’s four sponsors — and suspended Israeli aid programs to the West African nation.
Turning his displeasure on the U.S. government, he then accused President Barack Obama of backing out of a long-standing commitment to stand by Israel.
“The [Obama] decision not only does not help us make peace, it stands in the way of peace,” he said.
For their part, Palestinians and Arab countries across the region hailed the vote.
Former Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat called the vote “a clear and unanimous message” to Netanyahu that his policies would not lead to peace or security, either in Israel or elsewhere in the region.