Israel reprimands Swedish ambassador over UNESCO vote
Swedish ambassador to Israel admonished after his country voted for resolution referring to Israel as an 'occupying force' in Jerusalem, and calling to reject Israeli sovereignty over all Jerusalem; Netanyahu to punish UN by withholding $1 million in payments to the world body.
Israel has formally reprimanded the Swedish ambassador because of his country's vote in a United Nations body that diminished Jewish ties to Jerusalem.
Israel's Foreign Ministry says Ambassador Carl Magnus Nesser was summoned Wednesday after Sweden was the only European country to vote for a UNESCO resolution criticizing Israeli excavations in east Jerusalem as a violation of international law, and even reffering to the Jewish nation as an "occupying power."
Israel has long complained about bias at UN forums, feeling outnumbered by Arab nations and their supporters.
The UN cultural body's resolution was approved by 22 member states, with 10 voting against and 23 abstaining.
The result marked an improvement for Israel, which has previously found itself with little international support besides the Unites States. This time, Italy, Britain, Holland, Greece and others also sided with it.
Punishing UNESCO for its decision, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he will withhold $1 million in payments to the United Nations.
Netanyahu called the UNESCO resolution "absurd" and said the agency's "systematic harassment" of Israel had a price. Speaking at a Cabinet meeting Wednesday, Netanyahu says Israel will not sit idly by as a UN organization tries to negate its sovereignty in Jerusalem.