June 10, 2015
(ANTIMEDIA) Going against recommendations given to him during the past week, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon chose not to include Israel on the infamous list of groups and states that violate children’s rights in times of armed conflict—though he did harshly criticize Israel for the thousands of Palestinian children killed and injured during military actions in 2014.
Ban made the decision not to include the IDF (Israel’s army) on the blacklist with groups like the Taliban, ISIS, and al-Qaeda after receiving the recommendation to do exactly that from UN special envoy for children and armed conflict, Leila Zerrougui. Going against such counsel is unusual, according to UN sources.
“The unprecedented and unacceptable scale of the impact on children in 2014 raises grave concerns about Israel’s compliance with international humanitarian law . . . particularly in relation to excessive use of force,” said Ban of the decision.
The Secretary General also acted contrary to Zerrougui’s advisement to include Hamas on that list.
The “devastating impacts for children” described in the report can be clearly seen in numbers: In Gaza, no less than 557 Palestinian and 4 Israeli children were killed while all but 22 of the 4,271 injured were Palestinian. In the West Bank, there were 13 Palestinian and 3 Israeli children killed with a total of 1,218 children injured. Only Afghanistan and Iraq had higher total child deaths due to conflict than Palestinians, with 710 and 679 children killed, respectively.
With the lopsided casualties and Israel’s direct attacks on seven schools, there are many questions surrounding the decision not to include it on the blacklist. A spokesperson for Ban Ki-Moon, Stephane Dujarric, implied that heavy pro-Israel lobbying by the U.S. and others was influential in the choice. Interestingly, last week, Senators Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz challenged any future presidents to reconsider the U.S.’ relationship with the UN should Israel be included on the list of children’s rights violators. They suggested the UN should not expect continued financial support should Israel’s right to “self-defense” be infringed.
“I would like to put all parties to conflict on notice that those that engage in military action that results in numerous grave violations against children will, regardless of intent, find themselves under continued scrutiny by the United Nations, including in future reports relating to children and armed conflict,” warned Ban.
Armed forces or groups who “recruit, use, maim, rape, or employ other types of sexual violence against children, or who engage in attacks on schools and/or hospitals” are generally included on the list. It would appear Israel’s seven school attacks more than qualify under these guidelines.
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