Israel Threatens to Cut Payments to UN Ahead of Guterres' Visit

© AFP 2023 / JACK GUEZA general view taken shows buildings in the Israeli Mediterranean coastal city of Tel Aviv
A general view taken shows buildings in the Israeli Mediterranean coastal city of Tel Aviv - Sputnik International
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said the country might further cut its annual payments to the United Nations, if the organization does not adjust its approach to the country.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Tel Aviv is determined to put the question of the United Nations' "anti-Israel bias" point-blank during the upcoming visit of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to the country, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said Sunday.

"We are seeking a dramatic change in the way the UN treats Israel. It’s time to place the issue squarely on the table and address it head-on," Hotovely said, as quoted by The Times of Israel news outlet, adding that Israel will "no longer tolerate anti-Israel bias."

According to Hotovely, Washington also voiced its opposition to the United Nations' stance on Israel, threatening to ax its funding.

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Israel also plans to discuss a change in the UN interim force in Lebanon mandate (UNFIL) at the meeting with Guterres, insisting that the peacekeepers should be authorized to deal with the Shiite Hezbollah movement, a designated terrorist organization in Israel and the United States.

Gueterres will visit Israel and Palestine August 28-30. The UN Secretary-General has advocated a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and has stated on numerous occasions that he considers it to be the only way forward.

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The tensions between the United Nations and Israel started in January, when Israel decreased annual payments to the United Nations by $6 million in response to the December 2016 UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Israel continued to cut the payments in March and May, following the UN resolutions that accused Tel Aviv of "human rights violations in the occupied Syrian Golan" Heights and the West Bank, and labeled Israel as an occupant country of Jerusalem.

UNFIL was originally established in 1978 to ensure Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon and restore peace and security. Following the Israeli-Hezbollah war in July/August 2006, the Council significantly enhanced and expanded the original mandate. The Council is expected to vote on renewal of the UNIFIL's mandate on August 30.

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