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United States Announces Withdrawal From UNESCO, Cites 'Anti-Israel Bias'

United States Announces Withdrawal From UNESCO, Cites 'Anti-Israel Bias'”

The United States will withdraw from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The withdrawal, effective December 31, 2018, won't be the first for the United States.

Unesco was dependent on the United States for 22 percent of its budget, then about $70 million a year.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley at the time called the decision an "affront to history" and announced that Washington would evaluate "the appropriate level of its continued engagement at UNESCO".

In July, Unesco declared the ancient and hotly contested core of Hebron, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, as a Palestinian World Heritage site in danger, a decision sharply criticized by Israel and its allies.

The United States said Thursday that it was pulling out of the UN's culture and education body, accusing it of "anti-Israel bias" in a move criticised by the head of the Paris-based organisation.

And previous year, Israel suspended cooperation with it after the agency adopted a controversial resolution which made no reference to Jewish ties to a key holy site in Jerusalem.

"The US relationship with Unesco is a matter for them".

It is perhaps best known for the World Heritage program, which helps preserve cultural sites of import around the globe.

"Universality is critical to UNESCO's mission to strengthen worldwide peace and security in the face of hatred and violence, to defend human rights and dignity", she said in a statement.

Israel has accused UNESCO of making a politically motivated move, part of what it says is an attempt to deny the Jewish character and heritage of certain key sites in the Holy Land. "This is a loss for multilateralism". Permanent Representative to the UN Nikki Haley has repeatedly denounced these actions, and said the USA was "evaluating" whether or not it should continue as a member of the organization.

The United States announced its withdrawal from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Thursday, withthe State Department citing among other issues a "continuing anti-Israel bias", prompting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to order the Foreign Ministry to prepare its own withdrawal and Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon to hail "a new era in the UN".

"At the time when conflicts continue to tear apart societies across the world, it is deeply regrettable for the United States to withdraw from the United Nations agency promoting education for peace and protecting culture under attack", she said.

The lack of staffing and funding plans for Unesco by the U.S. have been accompanied by repeated denunciations of Unesco by senior USA officials, including U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. The U.S. rejoined it in 2003.

Former president Ronald Reagan quit the organization altogether in the 1980's.



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