UN's Ban leaves Israel, Hamas off children's rights blacklist but slams IDF

United Nations secretary-general criticizes Israel over impact on children of last summer's Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon  (photo credit: REUTERS)
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel on Monday welcomed a UN decision not to place it on a blacklist that includes groups such as Islamic State, but criticized the organization for going easy on Hamas.
The UN special envoy for children and armed conflict, Leila Zerrougui of Algeria, had placed the IDF and Hamas on a blacklist of states and armed groups that violate children’s rights during conflicts.
The list was part of a draft report Zerrougui had submitted to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last month on armed conflict.
Ban’s office is responsible for publishing the final report, which is distributed to the UN Security Council. The secretary-general has the right to amend the report.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had asked Ban not to include Israel in the report.
The secretary-general on Monday took both the IDF and Hamas off the list, but charged that Israel had used excessive force during its 2014 war with Hamas in Gaza.
Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor said: “The UN secretary-general was right not to submit to the dictates of the terrorist organizations and Arab states in his decision not to include Israel in this shameful list, which includes organizations such as ISIS [Islamic State], al-Qaida and the Taliban.”
He added, however, that the “UN still has a long way to go.”
He urged it to “unequivocally condemn the terrorist organizations that operate in Gaza, including Hamas, rather than releasing endless reports against Israel.
These terrorist organizations in Gaza “obstruct humanitarian aid, fire from civilian population centers and use innocents as human shields,” Prosor said.
“Only after these organizations are recognized as terrorist organizations and condemned can we promote real solutions,” Prosor added.
UN sources have said that Ban’s decision to override Zerrougui’s recommendation was unusual.
Still, his 43-page report strongly criticized the impact that the 2014 Gaza war had on children.
“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,” he said.
A UN inquiry found that Israel fired on seven UN schools, killing 44 Palestinians who had sought shelter at some sites, and that Palestinian terrorists had hidden weapons and launched attacks from several empty UN schools.
Ban said that in conflicts in Central African Republic, Iraq, Israel and the Palestine territories, Nigeria, South Sudan and Syria, “children were affected to a degree which is an affront to our common humanity.”
The report noted the five deadliest conflicts for children. It said 710 children were killed in Afghanistan, 679 in Iraq, 557 Palestinian children died, 368 in Syria, and 197 in Darfur, Sudan.
As in the case of Israel and the Palestinian territories, not all groups or armies were added to the blacklist.
The UN report blacklists groups or armed forces that “recruit or use children, kill or maim children, commit rape and other forms of sexual violence against children, or engage in attacks on schools and/or hospitals.”
Armed groups blacklisted were involved in conflicts in Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), South Sudan, Iraq, Mali, Myanmar, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Colombia, Nigeria and the Philippines.
Countries whose national or regional armed forces were included on the blacklist were Afghanistan, DRC, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Myanmar and Yemen.