The decision of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to override his special envoy’s recommendation and omit Israel from the list of states and armed factions that violate children’s rights during conflict is a failure of justice and accountability, charges the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor.
The UN special envoy for children and armed conflict, Leila Zerrougui, had included both Israel's army and Hamas in a draft of the report she sent to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. However, Ban removed it, saying only that, “The unprecedented and unacceptable scale of the impact on children in 2014 raises grave concerns about Israel's compliance with international humanitarian law.”
“Strong statements are not enough,” says Ramy Abdu, PhD, Euro-Med Monitor chairman. “Decades of strong statements have not resulted in behavior change, and it is time for Israel to be held to account with tangible actions. A total of 530 Palestinian children were killed in just 50 days in the summer of 2014. Another 3,300 others were wounded—of whom a third will suffer from disabilities for life. Still others lost mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers. If there is no price to pay, then what is to make the Israeli government think twice before launching another such assault in the future?”
Earlier, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution demanding that any country that systematically threatens or launches attacks against schools and hospitals be included on the blacklist.Israel certainly qualifies under that provision: Seven shellings of UNRWA facilities in Gaza were documented July 21-Aug. 3, 2014. Artillery, mortar or aerial missile fire struck on or near the UNRWA facilities, which were being used as shelters for displaced Palestinians. As a result, at least 44 civilians, including 10 UN staff, died. An estimated 200,000 people (10 percent of Gaza's population) took shelter in UNRWA schools.
“Blacklisting Israel for these blatant crimes against children and families would at long last send a message to Israel and to the Palestinians that the rule of law and justice can actually work,” says Abdu. “Blacklisting Israel also would send a serious warning to the Israeli government and to other violators of human rights that international law has teeth.”