U.N. leaves Israel, Hamas off blacklist of children’s rights abusers

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon omitted Israel and Hamas from a blacklist of states and armed groups that violate children’s rights during conflict.

The final list was sent to the U.N. Security Council on Monday, according to reports.

Ban had final say on the states and groups that appeared on the list, which reportedly had included the Israel Defense Forces and Hamas in the draft sent to him for approval. His decision to remove Israel and Hamas against the recommendation of the U.N. special envoy for children and armed conflict, Leila Zerrougui of Algeria, is unusual, Reuters reported, citing unnamed U.N. sources.

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The report did include harsh criticism of Israel’s treatment of Palestinian children during its military operations in 2014 in the West Bank and Gaza.

“In 2014, the security situation significantly deteriorated in the State of Palestine with another escalation of hostilities in Gaza and a significant increase of tensions throughout the West Bank, with devastating impacts for children,” the report says, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz, which obtained a copy. “Palestinian and Israeli children continued to be affected by the prevailing situation of military occupation, conflict and closure.”

The report found that 557 Palestinian children and four Israeli children were killed in 2014, with 4,249 Palestinian children and 22 Israeli children wounded.

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations, on May 1 sent Ban a letter asking him to add Israel to the list, which was bolstered by a petition led by Palestinian solidarity groups. Both Israel and the United States reportedly pressured Ban to keep Israel off the list.