UN blacklists Israel for offences against children

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemns the decision targeting the Israeli military

Palestinian children wounded in an Israeli strike on a residential building in Bureij refugee camp, central Gaza. AP
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The UN on Friday said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has added Israel to a global list of offenders who fail to protect children during war, a move Israel condemned as “shameful”.

Gilad Erdan, Israel's permanent representative to the UN, said he had been informed that Israel's military will be added to the list, which is attached as an appendix to the UN Secretary General's report on Children and Armed Conflict of countries and armed organisations that have not taken adequate measures to protect children during conflict.

“I am utterly shocked and disgusted by this shameful decision,” Mr Erdan said.

“Israel's army is the most moral army in the world, and you know it. This is an immoral decision that only aids terrorism and rewards Hamas.”

Gaza's Health Ministry says more than 36,600 people, including more than 15,000 children, have been killed and more than 83,000 wounded since the Israel-Gaza war began.

Israel launched strikes and a ground offensive in Gaza after Hamas-led militants attacked Israeli communities on October 7, killing about 1,200 people and abducting 250.

Mr Guterres's annual Children and Armed Conflict report will be published on June 18. Mr Erdan pre-empted the report by releasing a video of him learning of the decision.

Mr Guterres's spokesman Stephane Dujarric confirmed that Israel has been added to the list.

“Earlier today, our chief of staff Courtenay Rattray called the permanent representative of Israel, Gilad Erdan. The call was a courtesy afforded to countries that are newly listed on the annex of the report. It is done to give those countries a heads up and avoid leaks,” Mr Dujarric told reporters.

“This report comes every year at the request of the Security Council. The Security Council created this mechanism … it is based on very well established and transparent methodology.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also condemned the decision.

“Today, the UN added itself to the blacklist of history when it joined those who support the Hamas murderers,” his office said.

The decision to add Israel to a global list of offenders is “a step closer to holding Israel accountable for its crimes”, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's spokesman told Reuters.

The report highlights human rights violations against children in around 20 conflict zones. Last year, Russia's military and armed entities linked to Russia were included on the list.

Updated: June 08, 2024, 8:36 AM