UN adds Israel to global list of criminals who harm children
4 mins read

UN adds Israel to global list of criminals who harm children

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has added the Israeli military to the global list of criminals who have committed violence against children, his spokesman confirmed on Friday.

Israel has been told it will be included on the list in the secretary-general’s annual report on children and armed conflict, due to be sent to the U.N. Security Council next Friday, Stephane Dujarric told a news conference.

Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, as well as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), were also added to the list, according to a diplomatic source.

Dujarric added that the Israeli mission to the United Nations was convened by Guterres’ chief of staff on Friday, as a courtesy to the countries on the new list. “This is to give these countries a warning and avoid leaks,” he said.

Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, recorded a video of himself making a call from his office, apparently to a UN official, and shared part of it on social media.

In the recording, Erdan expressed outrage at the UN’s decision, calling the IDF “the most moral army in the world.”

“The only person who is on the blacklist today is the Secretary General, whose decisions since the beginning of the war and even earlier have rewarded terrorists and encouraged them to use children for acts of terror… Shame!”

Dujarric said it was “shocking and unacceptable” that Erdan apparently released the private phone conversation, stating that “it was something he had never seen in my 24 years with this organization.”

Israel was placed on the list after eight months of war in Gaza that killed more than 15,500 children, according to the enclave’s Ministry of Health.

The war was triggered by a Hamas-led attack on Israel on October 7, which killed 1,200 people and took approximately 250 hostages. Many of them are still in captivity, and Hamas’ top leadership remains at large despite the Israeli attack.

The so-called UN blacklist previously included countries such as Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Riyad Mansour, Palestine’s envoy to the United Nations, said the decision to add Israel to the list “will not bring back the tens of thousands of our children killed by Israel over the decades and will not restore normal lives to children who have been permanently disabled by its actions.”

“However, this is an important step in the right direction, towards ending the double standards and culture of impunity that Israel has enjoyed for too long and which has left our children exposed to the consequences.”

The annual report will be submitted to the Security Council on June 14. The official report will be published on June 18. It will be discussed during the debate in the Council on 26 June.

Asked about the consequences, a U.N. spokesman said it would be up to members to decide on any action.

As a result of the war, Israel-UN relations reached a historic low, with Israeli diplomats using their platforms at the UN to condemn the world body.

Israel’s dispute with the UN exceeded the Secretary-General’s capabilities. Israeli officials also criticized the United Nations Relief and Works for Palestine Refugees Agency (UNRWA), the World Health Organization, UN Women and UN Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories Francesca Albanese.

Meanwhile, since the beginning of the conflict in Gaza, several dozen UN employees have died, which is the largest loss in the history of this organization.

Israel has long accused UNRWA of anti-Israel incitement, which UNRWA has repeatedly denied, and in 2017 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sought to disband the UN body, saying it should be merged with the main UN refugee agency.

Since the October 7 attack, Israeli journalists and news outlets have renewed their attention on UNRWA and amplified stories questioning its role in the war.

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