Israel Reproaches Swedish Envoy, Cuts UN Funding Over UNESCO Vote

The Israeli Foreign Ministry, which on Tuesday described the resolution as "unnecessary politicisation of UNESCO", started its offensive effort targeting the United Nations cultural body over the resolution last week.

The resolution calls on Israel to rescind any "legislative and administrative measures and actions" it has taken to "alter the character and status" of Jerusalem.

Palestinians seek eastern Jerusalem as their future capital.

Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said he had instructed the country's representative to UNESCO to vote against "the latest politicized resolution on Jerusalem".

The Swedish government released a statement explaining its voting on the resolution on Tuesday, saying that it had "consistently strived for European Union unity on this resolution" but "since the European Union unfortunately has not been able to stay united, and since Sweden believes the current text is acceptable, Sweden has voted in favor".

Israelis stood silent for two minutes while sirens wailed across the country on Monday marking an annual day of remembrance for fallen troops and slain civilians.

"UNESCO rejects Israel's measures and occupation of East Jerusalem in milestone resolution adopted with significant majority".

"This cynical move must be recognized for what it is: a distorted, unsafe and illegitimate revision of history, which serves only as bait for adversaries of Israel seeking to strip the Jewish people's right to self-determination and deny its historic and religious link to Jerusalem".

In December, after the Security Council passed Resolution 2334, Netanyahu ordered $6 million cut from Israel's payment to the UN. Such activities by an occupying power are illegal under worldwide law, said the resolution, which several Arab countries had tabled. Speaking at a Cabinet meeting Wednesday, Netanyahu says Israel will not sit idly by as a United Nations organization tries to negate its sovereignty in Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu slammed the declaration, saying it denies the Jews' historical connection with Jerusalem by presenting Israel as an occupying power there.

The result marked an improvement for Israel, which has previously found itself with little global support besides the Unites States.

"To take this vote on Israel's Independence Day is a particularly new low".

"More countries opposed this resolution than previous year and fewer countries supported it", he said.

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