Responding to Monday’s vote by the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to grant the Palestinian Authority full membership in the agency, the Israeli government has suspended the transfer of tax money it has collected for the Palestinian Authority.
The Israelis also announced approval of a new wave of settlement construction in the West Bank.
The office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said 2,000 housing units will be built in East Jerusalem and two other areas, adding that “all of the mentioned areas are ones that would remain in Israeli control under any future peace agreement.”
The tax money collected in October for the Palestinian Authority, amounting to more than 300 million Israeli shekels (about $80 million), was to be used to pay the salaries of policemen and clerks of the PA, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
At least one Israeli minister has reportedly called for a permanent halt in the transfer of tax money to the PA.
Israeli has also decided not to allow UNESCO missions into Israel, and to examine the possible revoking of the VIP status enjoyed by senior Palestinian officials, which allows them to pass through checkpoints.
The United States cut off all American funding for UNESCO following the U.N. vote on Monday, as required by 1990s laws barring American funding of any agency that grants membership to the Palestinians.
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