UN agencies split on Israel’s inclusion on rights abuse list

UN agencies split on Israel’s inclusion on rights abuse list

UN head said likely to reject recommendation to name Israel as entity committing violations against children; Hamas appears on list

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, April 12, 2015 (AFP/Karim Jaafar/al-Watan Doha)
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, April 12, 2015 (AFP/Karim Jaafar/al-Watan Doha)

While UN agencies in Israel and in the Palestinian territories noted that a high number of Palestinian children were killed in last summer’s Operation Protective Edge, they were not able to reach a consensus on whether to place Israel on a list of violators of children’s right, according to a confidential UN document obtained by Reuters on Friday.

The document said it was “not clear how the listing criteria [for Israel] should be applied and whether they had been satisfied,” according to Reuters.

The 22-page UN document was prepared by UN agencies for submission to UN special envoy for children and armed conflict Leila Zerrougui, who has called to place both Israel and Gaza-based terrorist group Hamas on the list following the 50-day war between the two sides. Zerrougui accused the IDF of carrying out attacks on schools and hospitals in the Strip during the war.

Hamas appears on the list, as does Boko Haram and the Islamic State as well as the armed forces from eight countries such as Syria, Yemen, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.

The UN report says 540 Palestinian children were killed during the summer conflict, 371 of them 12 years old or younger.

UN diplomatic sources told the news agency that Israel “lobbied hard” against its inclusion on the list and seemed to have the backing of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who indicated last week that the international body would not include Israel in its list of entities committing “grave violations against children.”

According to Reuters, UN officials said Ban was inclined to reject Zerrougui’s recommendation.

Diplomats told Reuters that US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power has urged Ban not to accept Israel’s inclusion on the list, a final version of which could be submitted to member states as early as next week.

The 50-day summer war with Hamas is said to have killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, many of them civilians, according to Palestinian sources in the Gaza Strip; and 72 Israelis, mostly soldiers. Israel maintains that about half of the Palestinian dead were combatants and blames Hamas for all civilian casualties, since it embedded its war machine in residential areas.

Israel launched the operation in Gaza last summer in what it said was a mission to halt relentless rocket fire by Hamas terrorists. Hamas and other terror groups fired over 4,500 projectiles at Israel during the war, and dug tunnels under the border to carry out attacks.

Hamas seized control of Gaza in a violent coup against the Palestinian Authority in 2007. An Islamist terror group, it is committed to destroying Israel.

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