The UN was right to leave Israel off the list, but wrongfully equated the Jewish state with Hamas and ignored the terror group’s consistent use of children as human shields.
By Lauren Calin, World Israel News
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon removed both Israel and Hamas from a list of states and terrorist organizations that abuse children’s rights during armed conflict. Israel was originally put on the list by Leila Zerrougui of Algeria, the UN special envoy for children and armed conflict.
The UN nonetheless criticized Israel for the impact of Operation Protective Edge on children in Gaza, despite the fact that Hamas fired rockets from UN schools on multiple occasions.
The blacklist is part of a report on children in armed conflict put out by the secretary-general’s office and distributed to the UN Security Council. It is intended to identify armed forces or militant organizations 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.”
“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-Qaeda and the Taliban,” said Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor.
He called on the UN to “unequivocally condemn the terrorist organizations that operate in Gaza, including Hamas, rather than releasing endless reports against Israel,” noting that these organizations “obstruct humanitarian aid, fire from civilian population centers and use innocents as human shields.”
Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon also highlighted the cynical use of human shields by Hamas during Operation Protective Edge, saying, “Israel acted to defend its residents from attacks by a murderous terrorist group, which has no qualms about placing Palestinian civilians, including children, in the line of fire.”
“The State of Israel should never have been included in the UN Secretary General’s List of Shame, and it is therefore only natural and logical that it is not included in it,” stated a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson. “The State of Israel acted to protect its citizens from attacks by a murderous terror organization, which has no qualms about placing Palestinian civilians, including children, in the firing line. This organization, Hamas, did not hesitate to use children as human shields and to sacrifice their lives on the altar of hatred against Israel.
“On the other hand, Israel did everything in its power to avoid civilian casualties. This is our moral duty, and that is how we operate, out of a sense of deep commitment.”
Israel blamed for lack of protection
The UN report, however, still mentions Israel. “The unprecedented and unacceptable scale of the impact on children in 2014 raises grave concerns about Israel’s compliance with international humanitarian law…[and] excessive use of force,” Ban wrote. He called on Israel “to take concrete and immediate steps, including by reviewing existing policies and practices, to protect children, to prevent the killing and maiming of children, and to respect the special protections afforded to schools and hospitals.”
Numerous military experts have stated that the IDF was well within international law regarding military targeting and human shields. The UN itself has admitted that Hamas used UN schools to store weapons and fire rockets at Israel during last summer’s conflict.