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Israel dodges UN blacklist despite rise in Palestinian youth killed and injured in 2018

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Israeli forces killed and maimed some 2,800 Palestinian children in 2018, the highest number in years, and yet were not mentioned on an annual United Nations blacklist of armed forces that commit atrocities against youth.

Some 59 Palestinian children were killed last year and 2,756 more were injured — the highest number since 2014, according to a report by UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres that will be published this week, an advance copy of which was seen by Mondoweiss.

While Guterres called for a probe into the deaths and blasted Israel for endangering Palestinian youths, the UN chief did not embarrass Israel by naming it on his “list of shame” in the annexes of the survey.

“I am extremely concerned by the significant rise in the maiming of and injuries caused to children across Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, including by tear gas inhalation requiring medical treatment,” Guterres said in the report.

The UN chief directed his envoy on Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, to investigate the deaths and urged Israel “to immediately put in place preventive and protective measures to end the excessive use of force.”

More than half of the deaths of Palestinian children occurred during demonstrations at the Gaza fence, where protesters massed from March 2018 onwards demanding an end to an Israeli and Egyptian blockade on the narrow coastal strip.

Most of slain young protesters were “shot by live ammunition to the upper body, while reportedly posing no imminent threat of death or serious injury to Israeli forces”, the UN chief said in his 43-page report.

In the West Bank, some 1,398 Palestinian children were hurt by Israeli forces during “demonstrations, clashes and search and arrest operations”, the report says. Almost 1,000 of these were injured by inhaling tear gas.

Meanwhile, some 203 Palestinian children were detained by Israeli forces over security offences, including 87 who were serving time and 114 others awaiting trial. Most of them had “reported ill treatment”, the document said.

Israel must “uphold international juvenile justice standards, as well as to cease the use of administrative detention for children and end all forms of ill-treatment in detention, and to cease any attempted recruitment of detained children as informants,” the report said.

The document also criticised armed Palestinian groups, including Islamic Jihad’s al-Quds Brigades and Hamas’ al-Qassam Brigades, for recruiting child fighters. Six Israeli children were injured last year, including two girls hurt in an indiscriminate Palestinian rocket attack.

The UN’s annual report on children and armed conflict does not subject those listed to action but rather shames parties to conflicts in the hope of pushing them to implement measures so that fewer youngsters get hurt and killed.

Israel was not listed in the annexes of the document, which are dubbed the “list of shame” of armed groups that enlist child soldiers, target schools or carry out military strikes regardless of how many children get hurt.

Adrianne Lapar, a program director for Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict, a monitoring group, told Mondoweiss that the UN should not have downplayed Israel’s careless disregard for Palestinian children.

“Last year was one of the most dangerous for children in Israel-Palestine, with the Israel Defense Forces responsible for thousands of child casualties. Yet they have not been listed in the annexes,” Lapar said.

“Unfortunately the listing process is increasingly politicized, including Israel-Palestine … Efforts by states to politicize the process undermine one of the strongest mechanisms for accountability in the UN’s toolbox and downplay the suffering of child victims and their families.”

Israel’s mission to the UN did not immediately respond to a request from Mondoweiss for comment about the latest UN report on children and armed conflict, which is produced at the request of the UN Security Council.

The annual document has long been controversial, with diplomats saying that Israel exerted pressure to stay off the list in recent years. The same goes for other forces that have faced criticism, such as the Saudi Arabia-led coalition fighting in Yemen.

In 2015, the UN left Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas off the blacklist, after they had been included in an earlier draft, but criticized Israel over its 2014 military operations. Israel denied lobbying then secretary-general Ban Ki-moon on the issue.

James Reinl

James Reinl is a journalist, editor and current affairs analyst. He has reported from more than 35 countries and won awards for covering wars in Sri Lanka, Congo and Somalia, Haiti’s earthquake and human rights abuses in Iran. His work has appeared on PRI's The World, Al Jazeera, Foreign Policy, Fox News, France 24, CBC, CBS News, dpa, RTÉ, The Times, The National, Monocle and APTN.

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21 Responses

  1. JWalters on July 29, 2019, 7:12 pm

    “Israel exerted pressure”

    From whence does all this pressure come that Israel is constantly exerting? Is there any crime Israel cannot get away with by exerting pressure? How much pressure is required to control the UN? To control the US? To monopolize the mainstream media of the western world? Quite a lot, it would seem. Since politial pressure generally comes in the form of money, we clearly need some deep investigations to “follow the money”.

    • mondonut on July 29, 2019, 8:35 pm

      @JWalters From whence does all this pressure come that Israel is constantly exerting?

      Are you saying that the Jewish state and their Benjamins control the UN, the US and the media of the western world?

      • Talkback on July 29, 2019, 10:39 pm

        Zionists neither live exclusivly in Israel nor are they exlusivly Jewish. Jewish Israelis are only a minority of Zionists by far,

      • JWalters on July 30, 2019, 12:58 am

        The obvious facts speak for themselves.

      • eljay on July 30, 2019, 8:25 am

        || mondonut: @JWalters From whence does all this pressure come that Israel is constantly exerting?

        Are you saying that the Jewish state and their Benjamins control the UN, the US and the media of the western world? ||

        You seem to be saying that. He seems to be stating the obvious: Zionists and their Benjamins have tremendous influence.

        It’s interesting – but not at all surprising – that you Zionists insist on anti-Semitically conflating Zionism and Israel with all Jews in order to (human) shield yourselves and your supremacist construct from accountability for your past and on-going (war) crimes.

      • mondonut on July 30, 2019, 9:32 am

        @Talkback, Zionists neither live exclusivly in Israel…

        Who said anything about Zionists?

      • mondonut on July 30, 2019, 9:34 am

        @JWalters, The obvious facts speak for themselves.

        Not facts, nor obvious.
        Nice try on the dissembling but your answer should have been a yes or no.

      • mondonut on July 30, 2019, 9:37 am

        @eljay You seem to be saying that.

        …to control the UN?
        To control the US?
        To monopolize the mainstream media …

        His words, not mine. Nor do they speak of influence.

      • eljay on July 30, 2019, 9:44 am

        || mon donut: @Talkback, Zionists neither live exclusivly in Israel…

        Who said anything about Zionists? ||

        Who said anything about Jewish? Oh, that’s right: You did.

      • Misterioso on July 30, 2019, 10:04 am

        @mondonut

        “Are you saying that the Jewish state and their Benjamins control the UN, the US and the media of the western world?”

        Here’s an important and revealing news item that has received scant, if any attention in the U.S.:

        Good buddies, “Israel” and Saudi Arabia “rapped by U.N. for killing children.”

        https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-un-rights-children/saudi-led-forces-israel-among-states-rapped-by-u-n-for-killing-children-idUKKCN1UL2SF

        “Saudi-led forces, Israel among states rapped by U.N. for killing children” Reuters, July 26/19

        EXCERPT:
        UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – “A Saudi Arabia-led military coalition fighting in Yemen killed or injured 729 children during 2018, accounting for nearly half the total child casualties, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a report to the Security Council on Friday that blacklisted the coalition for a third year.

        “Guterres also reported that the highest number of Palestinian children had been killed or injured last year since 2014, mainly by Israeli forces, though no parties were blacklisted in the annex to the annual Children in Armed Conflict report, seen by Reuters.

        “The report, which does not subject those listed to action but rather shames parties to conflicts in the hope of pushing them to implement measures to protect children, has long been controversial with diplomats saying Saudi Arabia and Israel both exerted pressure in recent years in a bid to stay off the list.

        “The Israeli U.N. mission did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the latest report. In 2015 the United Nations left Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas off the blacklist, after they had been included in an earlier draft, but criticized Israel over its 2014 military operations. Israel denied lobbying then Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the issue.”

      • eljay on July 30, 2019, 11:42 am

        || mon donut: @eljay You seem to be saying that.

        …to control the UN?
        To control the US?
        To monopolize the mainstream media …

        His words, not mine. … ||

        His words were “whence does all this pressure come”. You anti-Semitically made it about Jews. You Zionists always do.

        || … Nor do they speak of influence. ||

        Pressure is influence.

      • Talkback on July 30, 2019, 1:08 pm

        Mondonut: “Who said anything about Zionists?”

        I did. Nobody else is interested in pressuring anyone to push Israel’s agenda.

      • mondonut on July 30, 2019, 3:28 pm

        @eljay You anti-Semitically made it about Jews. You Zionists always do.

        Your friend that you defend, declares that Israel (the Jewish State) controls the UN, the US and the western media. And in your eyes I am the anti-semite for referring to the Jewish State of Israel as the Jewish State of Israel.

        It would be funny if not so pathetic.

      • Bumblebye on July 30, 2019, 7:01 pm

        Donut, tis you that’s pathetic.

        If israel wishes to be known as the “Jewish State of Israel” then it needs to send its representatives off to the UN to ask for a name change.

        Oh, but they may ask for (and subsequently contest) the borders claimed by said state…

      • eljay on July 30, 2019, 7:12 pm

        || mon donut: @eljay You anti-Semitically made it about Jews. You Zionists always do.

        Your friend that you defend, declares that Israel (the Jewish State) controls the UN, the US and the western media. And in your eyes I am the anti-semite for referring to the Jewish State of Israel as the Jewish State of Israel.

        It would be funny if not so pathetic. ||

        donut, I honestly don’t know if you’re lying, genuinely obtuse or just pretending to be slow. But here we go:

        1. “Your friend”

        He is a member on MW. I do not know him. He is not my friend.
        – Fail #1.

        2. “declares that Israel (the Jewish State) controls the UN, the US and the western media.”

        No, he wonders what is the source of the tremendous pressure (influence) Israel is able to exert. A valid question, given that Israel is able to exert tremendous pressure (influence).
        – Fail #2.

        3. “And in your eyes I am the anti-semite for referring to the Jewish State of Israel as the Jewish State of Israel.”

        Of course you are. He did not refer to Jews, “the Jews”, “Jewish” or “Jewish State”. You, on the other hand, deliberately and anti-Semitically distorted his query about Israel’s influence into a statement about “Jewish” control.
        – Fail #3, and an epic one at that.

        You would be funny if you weren’t so hateful and immoral…and anti-Semitic.

      • JWalters on July 30, 2019, 7:33 pm

        mon donut, you seem to have a large hole in your picture of world events. Are you by any chance a disciple of Alan Dershowitz?

      • RoHa on July 31, 2019, 3:08 am

        “Your friend that you defend, declares that Israel (the Jewish State) controls …”

        If “that you defend” is a defining relative clause, telling us which friend is declaring, then the sentence should be:

        “Your friend that you defend declares that Israel (the Jewish State) controls …”

        If it is a non-defining relative clause, giving ancillary information about the friend, then the sentence should be:

        “Your friend, that you defend, declares that Israel (the Jewish State) controls …”

        But I suppose the punctuation rules are anti-Semitic.

    • FredNietzsche on August 2, 2019, 6:13 am

      “Your friend that you defend…”

      “Who,” not “that.” Or simply, “friend you.”

      “Anti-Semitic” is the protean “trope” of 21st century political rhetoric.

      • RoHa on August 2, 2019, 9:42 am

        Good point.

        I was concentrating on the punctuation, and so left the “that” in the non-defining clause. It should be “who” there. The pronoun cannot be omitted.

        “That” is fine in the defining clause, as is omission of the pronoun.

  2. Misterioso on July 30, 2019, 9:34 am

    Of note:

    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20190725-ex-israel-pm-ehud-olmert-cancels-switzerland-trip-over-war-crimes-arrest-threat/

    “Ex-Israel PM Ehud Olmert cancels Switzerland trip over war crimes arrest threat”
    Middle East Monitor, July 25/19

    “Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert cancelled a planned trip to Switzerland after being told he could be arrested over war crimes charges, Israeli media reported yesterday.

    “As first reported by Israel’s Channel 12, Olmert was due to visit the country on a business trip, ahead of which, Israeli authorities liaised with their Swiss counterparts to coordinate security arrangements.

    “However, during discussions Switzerland informed the Israeli Ministry of Justice that if Olmert landed in Zurich, he would be summoned for questioning and faced the potential of arrest for war crimes committed during the ‘Operation Cast Lead’ assault on the Gaza Strip in 2008-2009.

    “Thus, ‘following a series of consultations with the Israeli Foreign and Justice Ministries, Olmert was reportedly forbidden from flying abroad,’ i24News reported.

    “Olmert was prime minister in the period 2006-2009, after which he subsequently spent 16 months in prison for accepting bribes and obstruction of justice during his tenure as mayor of Jerusalem and trade minister.

    “During ‘Operation Cast Lead,’ a three-week long offensive by the Israeli military on the occupied and blockaded Gaza Strip, more than 1,300 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces, including more than 300 children.

    “International human rights experts and organisations documented numerous examples of grave violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes.”

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