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Israel Threatens to Evict UN from its East Jerusalem Headquarters | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris, France. Photo: Reuters

Tel Aviv- The Israeli government slammed UNESCO on Wednesday over a resolution on Israeli occupation, considering the UN organization’s move anti-Semitic and threatening to oust it from its east Jerusalem headquarters in the Armon HaNatziv neighborhood.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel would cut $1 million from its UN funding over the resolution he says denies Jews’ historical connection with Jerusalem.

“UNESCO again accepted an absurd resolution yesterday about the status of Jerusalem — the capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years,” Netanyahu said at the opening of a cabinet meeting.

“This systematic harassment has a price,” said Netanyahu, telling ministers he had ordered the foreign ministry to “cut an additional $1 million from the money Israel transfers to the UN.”

Wednesday’s cut was the third time in recent months Israel reduced its UN budget over what it perceived as anti-Israel votes, putting this year’s payments at $2.7 million.

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin called on foreign ambassadors to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“Most of you are younger than me,” Rivlin stated.

“You have been born into a reality where Jerusalem is the capital city of Israel and you don’t know any other reality. Since the days of King David, there wasn’t and there won’t be another reality. The time has come to end this absurdity and to recognize Jerusalem as the capital city of the State of Israel,” Rivlin told the diplomats.

Likud ruling party officials also urged Netanyahu in a letter they sent to him to oust the UN from its current headquarters.

The UNESCO resolution passed Tuesday at the organization’s Paris headquarters denounced actions taken by “Israel, the occupying power… to alter the character and status of the holy city of Jerusalem.”

It particularly criticized Israel’s annexation of east Jerusalem after occupying it in 1967, a move never recognized by the international community.