05:49 GMT +322 October 2017
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    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem

    Israel Starts Preparations to Withdraw From UNESCO

    © REUTERS/ RONEN ZVULUN
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    Israel will pull out from UNESCO (UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) along with the United States that announced the similar move on Thursday.

    “Prime Minister Netanyahu welcomes [US] President [Donald] Trump's decision to withdraw from UNESCO, and instructed the Foreign Ministry to prepare Israel's withdrawal from the organization alongside the United States,” the prime minister's press service stated.

    The development comes hours after the US State Department said in a statement that Washington would withdraw from the international organization at the end of 2018 because of "continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO." 

    Israel has been at odds with UNESCO in the recent month over the UN cultural body's position on Israel's construction activities in East Jerusalem and its actions in the Gaza Strip. UNESCO's executive committee has even passed a resolution that labeled the country "the occupying power." 

    A view shows the headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris, France, October 4, 2017
    © REUTERS/ Philippe Wojazer
    In response to the document, Tel Aviv reduced the funds that Israel annually transfers to the United Nations by $1 billion.

    Jerusalem has been a bone of contentions between the UN and Israel that has seized eastern part of the city in 1967 during the so-called Six-Days War. Since then Israeli authorities have been constructing settlements in the part of the city that the majority of world powers consider as the territory of Palestine.

    Palestinians have been seeking to establish their state for years. However, Israel refuses to recognize Palestine's independence. Direct talks between the two countries collapsed in 2014 when the latest armed conflict between Israel and Hamas took place.

    Tags:
    withdrawal, UNESCO, Israel, East Jerusalem, Jerusalem
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