Israeli soldiers next to a Palestinian girl as displayed in the report..
(photo credit: WATCHLIST ON CHILDREN AND ARMED CONFLICT)
A network of humanitarian organizations urged the United Nations to add the IDF to the blacklist of countries and armed groups responsible for grave violations against children.
Formed in 2001, Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict released its annual report ahead of the release of the United Nations’ annual report on children and armed conflict.
The United Nations’ report, which contains the blacklist, is usually released in May or June.
Watchlist recommended that 11 parties be added to the blacklist, and that United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres collect further information on several others, including on the Popular Front of the Liberation of Palestine and the armed wing of Hamas, Izzadin Kassam, to determine whether or not they should be included in next year’s report.
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The network’s explanation focused on the 2014 Operation Protective Edge, fought between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, stating that “attacks in Gaza have not ceased.”
The IDF was kept off the list in 2015 after lobbying by the US and Israel.
The section on Israeli offenses is nine pages long, while the sections on PFLP and Izzadin Kassam are one and three paragraphs long, respectively.
“In his 2016 annual report on children and armed conflict covering the period of January 1 to December 31, 2015, the secretary-general reported that 27 Palestinian children (23 boys and 4 girls) were killed in the West Bank, almost double the number killed in 2014,” the report said, adding that “the number of injuries to Palestinian children also increased, mostly due to clashes with Israeli forces and military-led operations.”
The report does not give the context of the recent wave of violence, where there were frequent stabbing, ramming and shooting attacks over the past two years, stating only that the “upsurge in violence” killed 32 Israelis and left 356 seriously wounded.
According to Watchlist, it has recommended listing the IDF since 2005 for “killing and maiming children and attacking schools and hospitals in Gaza and the West Bank.”
“The new secretary-general has an opportunity to send a clear message to all member states that a party to conflict is listed for one reason alone – a pattern of documented, United Nations-verified evidence of grave violations against children,” Dragica Mikavica, advocacy officer for the organization said.
“The secretary-general must use his unique voice to preserve the integrity of the Children and Armed Conflict agenda by publishing a complete and accurate list of parties to conflict that commit grave child rights violations,” she added.
They also recommended listing the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq, armed opposition groups in southern Thailand for perpetrating attacks on schools and hospitals, India’s Communist Party/Maoist for recruiting and using children, and the Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces for killing and maiming children and attacking schools and hospitals in Yemen.
According to the network’s statement, the Saudi Arabia-led coalition against Houthi rebels in Yemen was taken off last year’s list by then-secretary-general Ban Ki-moon after the Saudis and their supporters threatened to withdraw hundreds of millions of dollars in assistance to United Nations programs if they were not removed, “despite United Nations documentation of hundreds of child deaths in Yemen from Saudi Arabia-led coalition air strikes.”
Watchlist also urged the United Nations to collect further information on groups in Afghanistan, Congo, Iraq, Somalia, Syria (including the international coalition against the Islamic State), Philippines, Burundi and Ukraine for possible inclusion in next year’s report.