International

Israel had no warning that US would pull out of UNESCO: report

Israel was not briefed on the U.S. decision to leave the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and was reportedly taken off guard by the move, according to Haaretz.

Israeli and American officials told the publication that there had been no coordination between the two countries in the days leading up the U.S.'s announcement, despite discussing the issue during meetings in recent months. 

Senior Israeli officials told Haaretz that Israel was first informed of the U.S.'s decision when Foreign Policy published a report on its website on Wednesday evening.

Israeli diplomats at the United Nations, the embassy in Washington and UNESCO's headquarters in Paris then sought clarification from U.S. diplomats.

A U.S. official explained to the publication why the U.S. was not open about its decision to leave the organization. 

"The deliberative process that led to the decision to withdraw was an internal U.S. government process and was not discussed with any non-USG [government] entities prior to the secretary's decision," the official said. 

The report comes days after the Trump administration announced the U.S. would be leaving the organization, accusing it of having an anti-Israeli bias.

Despite the lack of communication, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the decision, and announced Israel would follow suit. 

"I welcome @realdonaldtrump's decision to withdraw from UNESCO," Netanyahu said in a tweet. "I have instructed the Foreign Ministry to prepare Israel's withdrawal from UNESCO in parallel with the United States."

"This is a courageous and ethical decision because UNESCO has become a theater of the absurd and instead of preserving history, distorts it," he said. 

 

 

 

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