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Jan 6, 2:09 PM EST

Israel halts $6 million to UN to protest UN settlements vote



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UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Israel announced Friday it is cutting approximately $6 million in its annual dues to the United Nations this year to protest last month's Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements as "a flagrant violation under international law."

Israel's U.N. Mission said the amount represents the portion of Israel's contribution to the U.N.'s regular budget totaling more than $40 million allocated "to anti-Israel bodies."

It named the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees known as UNRWA, The Division for Palestinian Rights, the committee investigating Israeli practices affecting Palestinian human rights, and information programs on "the Question of Palestine."

"It is unreasonable for Israel to fund bodies that operate against us at the U.N," Israel's U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon said. "The U.N. must end the absurd reality in which it supports bodies whose sole intent is to spread incitement and anti-Israel propaganda."

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric, asked to comment, said: "We have not been informed."

Israel's U.N. Mission said the cut in funding is the first in a series of steps under consideration by the Foreign Ministry and the mission in reaction to the recent Security Council resolution.

The Obama administration's decision to abstain and allow the U.N. Security Council to approve a long-sought resolution condemning Israeli settlements as an obstacle to a two-state solution was a sharp rebuke to a longstanding ally and a striking rupture with past U.S. vetoes.

Israel's U.N. Mission said it will move forward on additional initiatives "aimed at encouraging structural change within the U.N. with the ultimate goal of ending anti-Israel activities" after Donald Trump becomes president of the United States on Jan. 20.

The president-elect has criticized President Barack Obama's green light for the Security Council condemnation.

On Thursday, the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bipartisan resolution rebuking the United Nations for criticizing Israeli settlements and declaring unwavering support for Israel. The non-binding resolution insists that the United States reject any future U.N. actions that are similarly "one-sided and anti-Israel."

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