UN adds Israeli military to child rights violators’ list

The United Nations has placed the Israeli military on a list of parties accused of committing violations against children in conflict zones.

This decision, confirmed by Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan on Friday, has sparked a wave of controversy.

The UN Secretary-General’s annual report, which includes the new listing, documents offences such as the killing of children, denial of access to humanitarian aid, and attacks on schools and hospitals.

The report is set to be presented to the UN Security Council next week.

Israel’s Foreign Minister, Israel Katz, condemned the decision, warning it could have serious repercussions for Israel’s relations with the UN.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also criticized the UN for adding itself to the “blacklist of history” and that the Israeli military was the “most moral army in the world” He defended the Israeli Defense Forces as “the most moral army in the world.”

In contrast, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed the UN’s move, viewing it as a step toward accountability for what he termed Israel’s crimes against Palestinian children.

The ongoing conflict has seen significant casualties. Israel’s National Council for the Child reports that 1,200 Israelis, including 38 children, were killed in Hamas attacks on October 7th of last year.

In response, Israeli bombardments in Gaza have resulted in the deaths of thousands, with the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza reporting 36,731 fatalities, including many children.

Recent UN figures estimate that at least 7,797 children have been killed in Gaza, based on identified bodies. The UN has faced criticism from Israel for relying on data from the Hamas-run health ministry.

Israeli air strikes continue to inflict casualties, with a recent strike on a Gaza school reportedly killing at least 35 people, including 14 children.

Humanitarian organisations have highlighted the dire situation in Gaza, with significant delays in aid deliveries exacerbating the crisis.

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees and other groups report that malnutrition and dehydration are claiming children’s lives amid the ongoing conflict and displacement.

The inclusion of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad on the UN’s list, alongside the Israeli military, underscores the complexity and mutual accusations in this protracted conflict. The forthcoming Security Council presentation will likely intensify the debate over accountability and protection of children in war zones.

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