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Israel mulls response to UNESCO vote

Nov. 1, 2011 at 7:00 AM   |   Comments

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JERUSALEM, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- Israel may impose sanctions on the Palestinian Authority in response to UNESCO's vote to admit it as a full member, officials said.

A statement issued by Israel's Foreign Ministry said the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's decision would harm efforts to jump-start peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

"The Palestinian move at UNESCO is tantamount to a rejection of the international community's efforts to advance the peace process," a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry said. The ministry threatened to cut ties with UNESCO, The Jerusalem Post said.

At a ministerial meeting Tuesday convened by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, ministers were to examine an array of ideas, including canceling the VIP status of senior Palestinian officials that allows them to pass through Israeli checkpoints, halt the transfer of tax money Israel collects for the Palestinian Authority and increase settlement construction, Haaretz said.

Israeli diplomatic officials told Ynetnews.com Israel may approve several "sensitive" housing plans, in response to UNESCO's decision, the officials said.

"Israel may choose to mount a unilateral response of its own to this move," a diplomatic source told Ynetnews.com.

"The implications of the change to the P.A.'s status have to be explored, since it backs their unilateral move in the U.N.," the source said.

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