Israel freezes $100 million in Palestinian funds over UNESCO membership

Robert Serry

Israel has decided to withhold $100 million in monthly tax revenues belonging to the Palestinian Authority, following the latter's entry into the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

That's what Robert Serry, the UN Special Envoy for the Middle East Peace Process, told the Security Council on Monday.

Israel collects the funds on behalf of the Palestinian Authority under the 1994 Oslo accords.

Serry says the money represents two-thirds of the Palestinian Authority's annual revenues.

"If not immediately unblocked, this action threatens the state building gains made by the Palestinian Authority, including the increased good governance felt by the Palestinian people and the development of the security forces that uphold law and order in the West Bank. The United States is also partially withholding assistance funds that it was providing to the Authority. We must de-escalate this situation."

UNESCO granted Palestinians full membership to the organization last month.

Shortly after, the United States pulled its own funding to UNESCO, leaving the agency with a budget gap of $65 million.

Duration: 24''

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