UNITED NATIONS (Aug. 25)
The government of Israel has decided to withhold a certain amount of its yearly contributions to the United Nations in response to the “anti-Israeli activities” by various UN agencies, Ambassador Yehuda Blum of Israel announced at a press conference here today.
He said the amount Israel will withhold will be about one-quarter of one percent of the total amount the UN devotes to anti-Israeli activities. Israel’s annual contributions to the UN budget is about $1.5 million, or about 0.23 percent, Blum said. The amount the UN spends on anti-Israel activities annually is not fixed.
The Israeli envoy said that “we expect right-minded states” to join Israel in its decision. The United States has since 1980 been withholding some 25 percent from the budget of pro-PLO agencies at the UN.
DECISION TRIGGERED BY GENEVA CONFERENCE
According to observers, Israel’s decision was triggered by the UN Conference on Palestine which begins next Monday in Geneva, and the flood of propaganda material, in the guise of “scholarly studies” that have been published by the committee preparing the conference.
At a press conference here earlier this week, Lucille Mair of Jamaica, the secretary general of the conference, said that more than 70 countries and some 100 non-governmental organizations have agreed to attend the conference. Israel, the United States, and most West European countries will not be participating.
Discussing some of the UN’s anti-Israel activities, Blum said that the Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and the Palestinian unit within the UN Secretariat, two bodies that enjoy generous UN funding, are nothing but the “extensions of the PLO” and have engaged in a “concerted campaign of vilification” against Israel.
The culmination of “this anti-Israeli campaign” at the UN, Blum charged, is the conference in Geneva. He pointed out that the budget of this 10-day conference is $6 million, an amount that “could feed millions of starving children.”
Blum could not provide the amount Israel will finally withhold. But Israeli diplomats explained that the amount will have to be calculated in relation to the total amount the UN appropriates for anti-Israeli and pro-Palestinian activities. One Israeli diplomat said: “We are talking here about tens of thousands of dollars that Israel is going to withhold.”
Blum said, in response to a question, that Israel has not withheld funds until now, since it became a UN member in 1949.