Reuters obtained a confidential UN report indicating “an alarming number of child victims in last” summer’s Israeli aggression on Gaza.
At the same time, the world body hesitates including Israel on a list of children's rights violators – because of heavy-handed US and Israeli pressure not to.
Israel's war murdered over 500 children and dozens of entire families. They were willfully targeted – a major war crime by any standard.
Reuters said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is "leaning against including Israel" on its list of nations violating children's rights – willful child killers and abusers.
A previous article discussed Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict Leila Zerrougui calling for holding Israel responsible for "grave crimes against children" in last summer's Gaza war.
She accused its forces of willful attacks on schools, hospitals and UN shelters. Ban rejected her request.
His spokesman Stephane Dujarric said he hadn’t made a final judgment – despite overwhelming, indisputable evidence of Israeli high crimes, murdering over 500 Palestinian children in cold blood.
A late April UN report blamed Israel for seven attacks on UN schools in Gaza – used as safe haven shelters.
A confidential report intended for Security Council members by mid-June lists nations committing serious crimes against children.
On June 4, Human Rights Watch called it a “list of shame.” It urged Ban to “apply consistent standards when deciding which countries and armed groups” to name.<
Crimes include unlawful killing, maiming, attacks on schools and hospitals, sexual violence and recruiting children as combatants.
HRW called on Ban to resist pressure to remove Israel from a draft offender list. Its crisis advocacy director Philippe Bologion said he "can strengthen child protection in war by compiling his list based on facts…"
"Applying consistent standards would add some longtime abusive parties to the list, including Israel…" In the past, countries committing far less serious violations were included.
Israel consistently commits multiple daily crimes against Palestinians. In 2014, HRW cited the following ones as reason to include it on its list of child abusers:
- “The unlawful killing of children in the West Bank, such as the 17-year-old boys Nadim Nawareh and Mohammed Salameh, whom Israeli forces shot and killed on May 15 in Beitunia, and 15-year-old Mahmoud Dudeed, shot and killed on June 20 in Dura.
- Unlawful deaths of children from Israeli attacks in Gaza, including the killing of four boys on July 16 near the Gaza City port, the killing of nine civilians, including two 15- year-old boys, at a cafe near Khan Yunis on July 9, and the killing of two children and five of their relatives when witnesses said two missiles from an airstrike hit their home in the densely crowded Khan Yunis refugee camp on July 10.
(An eighth casualty in the July 10 attack had joined the Qassam Brigades, a Palestinian armed group, a few months previously, but he did not yet have a rank in the group, indicating that the attack was disproportionate if not indiscriminate).
- Unlawful attacks on or near three schools in Gaza housing displaced people that in total killed 46 civilians, including 17 children.
- The use of at least two schools in Gaza as a base by Israeli military forces during the July/August operation in Gaza.”
HRW could have included much more damning evidence – including Israeli “breaking the silence” soldiers saying rules of engagement made Gaza a free-fire zone.
Commanders ordered troops “to fire at every person they identified in a combat zone” – including anyone in civilian neighborhoods, schools, hospitals, UN shelters and other nonmilitary targets.
Everyone visually spotted was considered an enemy – including women, small children, the elderly and infirm.
Soldiers were ordered to “shoot to kill” anyone in sight, to murder in cold blood, to carry out “mass destruction of civilian infrastructure and homes.”
Israel and America should be on lists of their own – designating them guilty of major longstanding high crimes against peace and the importance of holding them accountable.<
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.