Republicans in the newly-sworn in US Congress are putting together a number of measures to defund the United Nations in retaliation against the global body’s recent resolution against Israeli settlement activities. Lawmakers from the House Freedom Caucus are going to discuss the matter at their convention next Monday, BuzzFeed News reported Wednesday.
The right-wing group is expected to choose between decreasing the funding and making it voluntary, requiring Congress to decide its feasibility every two years. “One is an incremental step, the other is really a herculean leap,” said Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows said. Calling Israel a “bipartisan issue,” he added that Democrats would join them if the legislation “is measured and appropriate.” Texas Senator Ted Cruz also called for an end to the funding “unless and until the UN reverses this anti-Israel resolution.”
The US government funds over 20 percent of the UN’s annual budget. Washington has earmarked $594 million in the UN operations funding for next year but the figure approaches $3 billion once peacekeeping costs are factored in. Crafted by Representative Jim Bridenstine, the republican measure is likely to affect the operational funding only.
The administration of President Barack Obama came under bipartisan fire in late December, when it abstained from voting on the historic Security Council Resolution 2334, which stated that as Israel is not international law bans Israel from building any settlements on the occupied Palestinian lands, including Jerusalem al-Quds.
The House announced earlier this week that it would hold a vote on Thursday to declare Washington’s support for the Tel Aviv regime in the wake of the UN rebuke. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce said the Republican measure was designed to return some of Washington’s lost credibility.
Following the Security Council’s 14-0 vote in favor of the measure, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attacked Washington and other key Israel allies for not using their veto power. He also accused Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry of personally orchestrating the resolution. The Israeli envoy to the US, Ron Dermer, pushed the envelope even further, saying on Monday that Tel Aviv was in possession of “ironclad” evidence that showed Obama planned the “gang-up.”