Israel to withhold $2 million more in UN dues over ‘attacks’

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel will withhold $2 million of its required payment to the United Nations over “attacks” against Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

The action, announced Wednesday, comes after Israel already withheld nearly $7 million in December over recent votes by the international body perceived as anti-Israel, including one in late December on a Security Council resolution that condemned Israeli settlement building. The United States did not use its veto for the resolution.

Israel’s share of dues this year is about $11 million, which is based on its gross domestic product.

Netanyahu said the withheld money will be used by the Foreign Ministry to develop relations with countries that are friendly to Israel.

“I am not prepared to pay for and finance the attacks against us at the UN. We are changing the rules,” Netanyahu said Thursday told reporters before a meeting with Slovak President Andre Kiska. He called the attacks against Israel “venomous.”

Withholding the money will mean Israel is in arrears, but the Jewish state will maintain its vote in U.N. bodies. Israel can lose that vote after two years of being in arrears.

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