Israel could lose its voting rights in the United Nations General Assembly within two years if it makes good on its pledge not to pay its annual $10.7 million bill as a protest gesture.Out of the UN’s 192 member states, only Libya has no voting rights at the General Assembly for financial reasons, according to the UN website.Four other countries – Comoros, Guinea- Bissau, Sao Tome and Principe Somalia – have been granted exemptions that allow them to vote.“There is no reason why Israel should contribute to an organization whose organs work actively to deny Jewish history and work tirelessly in order to harm the only Jewish state,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon told The Jerusalem Post.But Nachshon did not respond to questions about the consequences of such an act, particularly in light of Israel’s desire to bid for a seat on the UN Security Council.The 15-member council has five permanent members and 10 rotating ones that are voted in by the General Assembly.Israel plans to push to gain a seat on the Security Council in 2019, precisely when it could lose General Assembly voting rights unless it pays a large portion of its bill.UN spokesman Farhan Haq also did not want to speak with regard specific to threats by Israel not to pay it’s bill.Globally, however, he said that member states lose their voting rights at the UN General Assembly if they owe more than the sum of their bill for a two-year period.“UN member states can continue to vote in the General Assembly as long as their arrears in the regular budget do not exceed the amounts those states owe for the past two years’ worth of assessments.”He added that Israel’s 2016 bill was paid in full.Since then, however, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry have announced a series of cuts amounting to $10m. – to protest UN actions it considers biased and anti-Israel.In December 2016, Israel pledged to withhold $6m. after the UN Security Council in New York approved Resolution 2334 that condemned Israeli settlement activity.In March of this year, it cut $2m. in response to a slate of five UN Human Rights Council resolutions it held to be anti-Israel.
Two months later, in April, it cut another $1m. after the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization approved a resolution disavowing Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem.Last week, Netanyahu promised to cut another $1m. after the World Heritage Center said it would inscribe the Hebron’s Old City and the Tomb of the Patriarchs as a Palestinian Heritage site.
PM Netanyahu reacting to UNESCO resolution (credit: REUTERS)