– Israel has announced that it will stop two ships bound for Gaza carrying pro-Palestinian activists. The ships have made one-fifth of the fifty hour journey from its port of departure in Turkey. Al Jazeera reports. Israeli military official Lieutenant-Colonel Avital Leibovich calls the trip a “provocation”, and states they will need to make sure they are not facing violent passengers. The Israeli military will also offer to unload any aid supplies and deliver them to Gaza. This is the latest attempt by activists to end the four-year blockade of the Gaza territory.
– Following UNESCO‘s decision to approve a Palestinian bid for full membership, the U.S. has withheld its financial contributionsto the cultural agency, stating that such action “undermines our shared goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.
The State Department said a $60 million payment to UNESCO scheduled for November would not be made. Also in retaliation of the membership approval, Israel has illegally accelerated construction of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.