Tony Greenstein | 11 June 2015 | Post Views:

UN’s Ban Ki-moon caves in, takes Israel off list of serious child abusers

The cowardice of the UN General Secretary, when his own officials place Israel on a list of child abusers, is breathtaking.  A concerted e-mail bombardment of the UN would be a start.  No doubt Israel and the USA put Banki Moon under pressure and once again he has taken the coward’s way. This is why all those who believe that the UN has any serious role in ending the oppression of the Palestinians are living a lie.  The UN is a gang of thieves from top to bottom.

Tony Greenstein 
A Palestinian medic cares for a wounded child after a 19
August 2014 Israeli air strike on a house in Gaza City killed a young girl, a
woman and injured 16 other people.Ashraf Amra APA images
UN Secretary-General Ban
has caved in to pressure from Israel
and the United States and taken the Israeli military off an official list of serious violators of children’s
rights, in this year’s report on children in armed conflict.
In doing so, Ban rejected an official recommendation
from his own Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Leila Zerrougui and numerous
human rights organizations and child rights defenders.
Ban’s act is particularly egregious since the report
found that the number of children killed in the occupied West Bank and Gaza
Strip in 2014, at 557, was the third highest only after Iraq and Afghanistan
and ahead of Syria.
“The revelation that Israel’s armed forces were removed
from the annex of the annual report by Ban Ki-moon is deplorable,” Brad Parker,
attorney and international advocacy officer at Defence for Children International-Palestine (DCI-Palestine), told The Electronic Intifada.
“The annual report and its annex, or children’s ‘list of
shame,’ has been a strong evidence-based accountability tool proven to help
increase protections for children in armed conflict situations. There is ample
evidence on persistent grave violations committed by Israeli forces since at
least 2006 that should have triggered listing,” Parker added.
“The secretary-general’s decision to place politics
above justice and accountability for Palestinian children has provided Israeli
forces with tacit approval to continue committing grave violations against
children with impunity,” Parker said. 
The top UN official’s decision will be greeted with
relief by the Obama administration, Israel and others concerned with ensuring
such Israeli impunity.

Obama pressure
“The draft 2015 report prepared by the
Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict,
Leila Zerrougui, recommended adding Israel and Hamas to the annexed list of
parties – the so-called ‘list of shame’ – due to their repeated violations
against children,” Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a statement on 4 June.
Human Rights Watch called on Ban to “list all countries
and armed groups that have repeatedly committed these violations, and resist
reported pressure from Israel and the United States to remove Israel from the
draft list.”
But that pressure proved irresistible to Ban. Foreign
reported last week that the
Obama administration had made a concerted effort to pressure him to drop Israel
from the list for cynical political reasons.
According to an unnamed UN official quoted by Foreign
, the Obama administration was concerned about false accusations that
“the White House is anti-Israel,” as the US completes sensitive negotiations
over Iran’s civilian nuclear energy program.
False balance
Human Rights Watch supported calls on Ban to list Hamas
as well as Israel, but this appears to have been a maneuver to look “balanced”
and avoid baseless accusations of anti-Israel bias frequently leveled at the
Sources familiar with the final report have told The
Electronic Intifada that Hamas is not on the list either.
But the violations attributed to Palestinian armed
groups, including the death of one Israeli child last summer due to a rocket
fired from Gaza, can hardly be compared in scope to the systematic mass
killings with impunity of Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip and West Bank
by Israeli occupation forces.
Since Hamas and other Palestinian armed resistance
groups are already under international sanctions and arms embargoes and listed
by various countries as “terrorist organizations,” adding Hamas to the list
would have meant little.
It is Israel whose violations continue not only with
impunity but with assistance from the predominantly European and North American
governments that arm it.
DCI-Palestine documented the killings of at least 547 Palestinian children during last summer’s Israeli assault on Gaza.
Human Rights Watch cites as part of Israel’s record the
“unlawful killing of children” in the occupied West Bank, including Nadim Nuwara and Muhammad Abu al-Thahir, both 17, shot dead by snipers on 15 May
In April, a board of inquiry set up by
Ban found that Israel killed and injured hundreds of Palestinians in seven
attacks on United Nations-run schools in the Gaza Strip last summer.

In March, there was an outcry among
Palestinian and international human rights advocates when it was revealed that
UN officials appeared to be trying to sabotage the evidence-based process that
leads to a recommendation of listing, after threats from Israel.
Palestinian organizations called on the mid-level UN
officials accused of interfering with the process to resign.
This led to assurances from Special Representative
Zerrougui that the decision-making process was still underway and indeed, after
gathering all the evidence, Zerrougui did recommend that Israel be listed.
Such a recommendation comes after UN bodies collect
evidence in collaboration with human rights organizations, according to
specific criteria mandated in UN Security
Council Resolution 1612
But despite the months-long nonpolitical and
evidence-based process, the final decision was always in Ban’s hands.
Partner in Israel’s crimes
There was much at stake for Israel and indeed for Ban if
he had gone with the evidence instead of submitting to political pressure.
“Inclusion of a party on the secretary general’s list
triggers increased response from the UN and potential Security Council
sanctions, such as arms embargoes, travel bans, and asset freezes,” Human Rights
Watch notes.
“For a country or armed group to be removed from the
list, the UN must verify that the party has ended the abuses after carrying out
an action plan negotiated with the UN.”
Ban has a long history of using his office to ensure
that Israel escapes accountability except for the mildest verbal censures that
are almost always “balanced” with criticism of those who live under Israeli
At the height of last summer’s Israeli attack on Gaza,
129 organizations and distinguished individuals wrote to the secretary-general, condemning him for “your biased statements, your
failure to act, and the inappropriate justification of Israel’s violations
of international humanitarian law, which amount to war crimes.”
Ban’s record, they said, made him a “partner” in
Israel’s crimes. His latest craven decision will only cement that well-earned
While Israel will celebrate victory in the short-term,
the long-term impact will likely be to further discredit the UN as a mechanism
for accountability and convince more people of the need for direct popular
pressure on Israel in the form of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS).

1266 Palestinian children under 15 were detained in occupied territorieslast year

JERUSALEM (Ma‘an) 10 June – Israeli forces detained a 13-year-old Palestinian
from his home in the al-Issawiya neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem
overnight Tuesday, lawyer says. Lawyer Muhammad Mahmoud of the Addameer
prisoners’ rights group identified the youth as Tariq Mustafa, adding that he
was detained along with Ahmad Jamal Atiyah, 19 … Mustafa’s detention comes as
Israeli watchdog Military Court Watch (MCW) submitted a report to the UN
Special Rapportuer regarding common mistreatment of children held in Israeli
military detention … Israel detained 1,266 Palestinian children below the age
of 15 in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in 2014, according to a PLO

40% of Palestinian Children Detained by Israel Are Sexually Abused; Virtually All Are Tortured

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