(Salon) – Last week, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon capitulated to pressure from the Obama administration and removed Israel’s armed forces from a child rights “blacklist.” The decision not only undermines a strong global tool necessary to protect children in armed conflict, but provides Israeli forces with tacit approval to continue committing egregious violations against children with impunity.
Each year, the Secretary-General submits a report on children and armed conflict to the UN Security Council that includes an annex, or “list of shame,” specifically identifying armed forces and groups found to commit grave violations against children. Israel’s armed forces were recommended by Leila Zerrougui, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, for inclusion in the list for killing and maiming children and carrying out attacks against schools. This was rejected by Ban, as was the recommendation to list Palestinian armed groups.
The latest report, released on June 8, is itself a real contradiction. While Ban expressed deep alarm “at the extent of grave violations suffered by children as a result of Israeli military operations in 2014” and recognized the “unprecedented and unacceptable scale” of Israel’s military violence, he omitted Israel’s armed forces from the annex.