UN wants to add Israel and Hamas to the global list of perpetrators who harm children

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Palestinians rescue belongings from a damaged UN-run school in the Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip after briefly returning with others to check on their homes on May 31, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the militant group Hamas . | Photo credit: AFP

The UN Secretary General will tell the Security Council next week that both Israel and Hamas are violating the rights of children and exposing them to danger in their war to eliminate each other.

The Secretary-General annually draws up a global list of states and militias that threaten and threaten children. Parties on the list range from the Kachin independence army in Myanmar to – last year – Russia during its war with Ukraine.

Now Israel is about to join them.

António Guterres sends the list to the Security Council and the council can then decide whether to take action. The United States is one of five permanent council members with veto power and has been reluctant to act against Israel, its longtime ally.

Another permanent member is Russia, and when the United Nations blacklisted Russian forces last year for killing boys and girls and attacking schools and hospitals in Ukraine, the council took no action.

Israel’s participation this month will likely only put more global spotlight on the country’s conduct in the Gaza war and heighten already high tensions in its relationship with the global body.

The foreword to last year’s UN report states that it lists parties involved in “the killing and maiming of children, rape and other forms of sexual violence against children, attacks on schools, hospitals and protected persons.”

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The head of Guterres’ office called Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Gilad Erdan on Friday to inform him that Israel would be included in the report when it is sent to the council next week, U.N. spokesman Stéphane Dujarric told reporters.

The militant Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad groups will also be on the list.

Israel reacted indignantly by sending news organizations a video of Erdan berating the head of Guterres’ office – who was supposedly on the other end of the phone call – and posting it on X.

“Hamas will continue to use schools and hospitals even more, because this shameful decision by the Secretary General will only give Hamas hope to survive and prolong the war and prolong the suffering,” Erdan wrote in a statement. “He should be ashamed!”

The Palestinian UN ambassador said adding Israel to the “list of shame” will not bring back tens of thousands of our children killed by Israel over the decades.

“But it is an important step in the right direction,” Riyad Mansour wrote in a statement.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “The UN today placed itself on the blacklist of history,” as the move has fueled the long-running feud between Israel and the UN and even the routine mechanisms of Israel’s dealings with the world body are now full . tensions.

The spokesman for the normally even-tempered Secretary-General broke the good-natured tone of his afternoon briefing when asked to discuss the latest development.

“The call was a courtesy to countries recently included in the annex to the report,” Dujarric said. “The partial release of that recording on Twitter is shocking and unacceptable and, quite frankly, something I have never seen in my 24 years with this organization.”

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The condemnation of the secretary general’s decision appeared to bring together Israel’s increasingly fractious leadership — from right-wing Netanyahu and Erdan to popular centrist war cabinet member Benny Gantz.

Gantz quoted Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, as saying, “It doesn’t matter what the goyim (non-Jews) say, what matters is what the Jews do.”

For months, Israel has faced heavy international criticism over civilian casualties in Gaza and questions about whether it did enough to prevent them in the eight-month war. Two recent airstrikes in Gaza killed dozens of civilians.

UN agencies warned on Wednesday that more than 1 million Palestinians in Gaza could experience the highest level of famine by the middle of next month if hostilities continue.

The World Food Program and the Food and Agriculture Organization said in a joint report that hunger is worsening due to severe restrictions on humanitarian access and the collapse of the local food system during the eight-month war between Israel and Hamas.

An Associated Press analysis of Gaza Health Ministry data shows a sharp decline in the share of Palestinian women and children killed in the war between Israel and Hamas. This trend coincides with Israel’s changing battlefield tactics and contradicts the ministry’s own public statements. .

This trend is significant because the mortality rate among women and children is the best available indicator of the number of civilian casualties in any of the 21st century crises. most destructive conflicts. In October, when the war started, this percentage was above 60%. For the month of April this was below 40%.

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Yet this shift went unnoticed by the UN and much of the media for months, and the Hamas-affiliated Health Ministry made no effort to put things right.

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