UN Reports Israeli Crimes Against Gaza Children

UN Reports Israeli Crimes Against Gaza ChildrenUN Reports Israeli Crimes Against Gaza Children

UN agencies have reported an alarming number of child victims in last year’s attacks on the Gaza Strip but were split on whether Israel should be put on a list of violators of children’s rights, a UN document shows.

Their 22-page confidential country report, obtained by Reuters on Friday, was prepared by UN agencies on the ground for submission to the UN special envoy for children and armed conflict as she readied a draft of the annual list.

More than 2,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed in the conflict, while 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel were reportedly killed. The report said some 540 children were killed, 371 of them 12 years old or younger.

The UN agencies’ country report has used strong language on Israel’s violations of children’s rights in Gaza.

It specified what it said were unlawful deaths and injuries of Palestinian children caused by Israeli forces, detention of Palestinian children and attacks on schools.

However, in a section that would appear to undermine the case for listing Israel, the country report said the heads of UN agencies on the ground had failed to reach a consensus on whether to list Israel.

It said it was “not clear how the listing criteria should be applied and whether they had been satisfied.”

UN diplomatic sources told Reuters that Israel has lobbied hard against its inclusion and that the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was leaning against including Israel. Diplomats said US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power had urged Ban not to list Israel.

A UN inquiry published in April said Israeli soldiers had fired on seven UN schools during the Gaza war, killing 44 Palestinians who were sheltered at some of the sites.