The United States and Israel have formally ceased from being members of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
The formal withdrawal happened at the stroke of midnight as the new year begun and marked the end of a process that started more than a year ago.
The US under Donald Trump in October 2017 filed a notice of withdraw from the body before being followed by the Israel government after the latter accused the UN agency of being biased against them.
In a statement released by the Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office in 2017, they said their decision followed one by their allies the US.
“The prime minister instructed the foreign ministry to prepare Israel’s withdrawal from the organisation alongside the United States,” Benjamin Netayahu’s office said in a statement in October 2017.
UNESCO have not been in Israel’s good books for a number of reasons including criticizing of the country’s occupation of East Jerusalem before granting ownership of the place to Palestine in 2011.
Israel ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon was recently quoted accusing UNESCO of having bias on their country and favouring Palestinians.
“UNESCO is a body that continues to rewrite history, among other things, by attempts to erase the Jewish connection to Jerusalem,”Danon, was quoted by The Jerusalem Post newspaper .
“Israel will not be a member of an organization dedicated to acting against it and which has a tool manipulated by Israel’s enemies,” he said.
It is said the withdraw will be a big blow to the UN body known for its work related to preservation of heritage and it is also estimated that the US accounted for over 22% of the UNESCO budget.
This is the second time the US is pulling out of UNESCO, the first being in 1984 under President Ronald Reagan before rejoining in 2003.
Israel joined UNESCO in 1949 but has had issues with the UN agency for adopting resolutions asserting Palestinian rights in the cities of Jerusalem and Hebron.
Last year, UNESCO placed Hebron and the Haram al- Ibrahimi Mosque which is revered by both Muslims and Jews on the World Heritage list.