Israel and Saudi-led forces among states in reports for killing children

The highest number of Palestinian children had been killed or injured in 2018 since 2014

July 27, 2019 21:00
1 minute read.
Palestinian children celebrate Hamas founding, Dec. 8, 2012

Palestinian children celebrate Hamas founding 150. (photo credit: REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah)

The highest number of Palestinian children had been killed or injured in 2018 since 2014, mainly by Israeli forces, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a report to the Security Council on Friday.

This Israeli UN mission has not responded to a request for a comment on the report.

Guterres also said that the Saudi Arabia-led military coalition fighting in Yemen killed or injured 729 children last year and accounted for nearly half the total of child casualties. The report blacklisted the coalition for the third time. 

The coalition was blacklisted in the annex to the annual Children in Armed Conflict report, according to Reuters. 

The report, which does not subject those listed to action but rather shames parties to conflicts in the hope of pushing them to implement measures to protect children, has long been controversial with diplomats saying Saudi Arabia and Israel both exerted pressure in recent years in a bid to stay off the list.

Saudi UN Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi said the report acknowledges steps taken by the coalition to safeguard children, noting that “every child’s life is precious.” But he also questioned the sourcing and accuracy of the report, describing the numbers as “exaggerated.”

The coalition had been briefly added to the blacklist in 2016 and then removed by Ban Ki-Moon pending review. At the time, Ban accused Saudi Arabia of exerting “unacceptable” undue pressure after sources told Reuters that Riyadh threatened to cut some UN funding. Saudi Arabia denied threatening Ban.

Last year, the report verified that 59 Palestinian children had been killed - 56 by Israeli forces - and another 2,756 injured, while six Israeli children were injured. The report found Israeli forces injured some 2,674 children “in the context of demonstrations, clashes and search and arrest operations.”

Guterres urged “Israel to immediately put in place preventive and protective measures to end the excessive use of force” and “all Palestinian actors to refrain from encouraging children’s participation in violence.”

The annual children and armed conflict report is produced at the request of the UN Security Council.


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