Israeli military has committed violations against children, UN chief rules

United Nations envoy for Israel says ‘shameful’ and ‘immoral’ decision will reward Hamas

Jane Dalton
Saturday 08 June 2024 15:56 BST
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Secretary-general Antonio Guterres has previously called on Israel to ease curbs on medical aid

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The Israeli military has been added to a global list of offenders who have committed violations against children, according to the country’s United Nations envoy, who branded the decision “shameful”.

The list is part of a report on children and armed conflict that is due to be submitted to the UN Security Council next Friday.

“I am utterly shocked and disgusted by this shameful decision of the secretary general,” said envoy Gilad Erdan.

Israel’s army is the most moral army in the world, so this immoral decision will only aid the terrorists and reward Hamas.”

The aftermath of an Israeli strike on a UN-run school that killed dozens of people in the Nuseirat refugee camp
The aftermath of an Israeli strike on a UN-run school that killed dozens of people in the Nuseirat refugee camp (AP)

Stephane Dujarric, a spokesperson for secretary general Antonio Guterres, who took the decision, declined to comment.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the UN had “added itself to the black list of history when it joined those who support the Hamas murderers”.

And foreign minister Israel Katz said it would affect the country’s relations with the UN.

Mr Guterres’s annual report to the 15-member Security Council covers the killing, maiming, sexual abuse, abduction or recruitment of children, denial of aid access and targeting of schools and hospitals.

The list is split into two: parties that have put in place measures to protect children and parties that have not. Mr Erdan said he was told Israel had been included on the latter.

Palestinian children wounded in Israeli bombardment in Bureij refugee camp
Palestinian children wounded in Israeli bombardment in Bureij refugee camp (AP)

The list aims to shame parties to conflicts in the hope of pushing them to implement measures to protect children.

A spokesperson for Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said the decision was “a step closer to holding Israel accountable for its crimes”.

Israel is retaliating against Hamas, which rules Gaza, over the 7 October attack by its militants.

More than 1,200 people were killed and at least 250 taken hostage by Hamas, according to Israeli tallies. More than 100 hostages are believed to be still captive in Gaza.

Separately, analysis of Gaza health ministry data has found the proportion of Palestinian women and children being killed in the war appears to have declined sharply.

The findings, by the Associated Press, comes after Israel changed battlefield tactics. In October, when the war began, the death rate for women and children was above 60 per cent. For April, it was below 40 per cent.

Israel’s assault on the blockaded Palestinian territory has killed more than 36,000 people, according to Gaza health authorities.

Israel’s military blames Hamas for Gaza’s high civilian death toll, accusing it of operating within densely populated neighbourhoods, schools and hospitals, something it denies.

UN and humanitarian officials accuse Israel of using disproportionate force, which it denies.

Additional reporting by Reuters and Associated Press

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