The U.S. reportedly did not inform Israel ahead of time of its plan to withdraw from the United Nations cultural agency UNESCO, despite citing anti-Israel bias at the world body for its decision.
According to Haaretz, senior Israeli officials did not learn of the U.S. plans to withdraw until last Thursday morning, just hours before the State Department’s announcement. Israel was informed of the decision by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, not the U.S. government.
“Israeli sources said that at no point did the Americans tell Israel a decision had been made to withdraw,” the report said.
A senior U.S. official confirmed America was not proactive in informing Israel ahead of time.
“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 entities prior to the [secretary of state’s] decision,” the senior official told Haaretz.
Nevertheless, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed President Donald Trump’s decision to leave UNESCO, calling it a “moral decision” and saying the agency “has become a theater of absurd. Instead of preserving history, it distorts it.”
Netanyahu has also ordered the Israeli Foreign Ministry to begin preparations for withdrawing from UNESCO.