Israel Responds to the UNESCO Vote with More Settlements

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Yesterday, the U.S. responded to the United Nations vote admitting Palestine to the organization's cultural and educational body by curbing funding for the organization--and today, Israel is issuing its own rejoinder. After calling yesterday's vote a "tragedy," "Israel is to expedite the construction of about 2,000 homes in Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in response to the Palestinians' successful bid to join UNESCO," reports The Guardian. It will also withhold tax revenue collected on behalf of the Palestine Authority, The Guardian says, and "further actions" may come. The move was announced in an official statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Reuters reports, with a Palestinian spokesperson answering back that the settlements will "speed up the destruction of the peace process." Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas asserted in the past that "only after Israel totally freezes its settlement activity" would Palestine get back to the negotiating table after peace talks ended last year, according to Reuters.

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