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Moment of Silence for Slain Palestinian Children Protested

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Jewish groups have sent a letter to the chairman of a United Nations conference here to register their dismay over a decision to include in the opening session a moment of silence in memory of the Palestinian children killed during the unrest in the Israeli-administered territories.

The letter was sent to Murdlhar Chandrakani Bhandari, chairman of the United Nations Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities.

The U.N. body decided at the opening of its 40th session on Monday to honor the memory of children who have died in the Palestinian uprising.

The moment of reflection, proposed by representatives from Morocco and Algeria, was added to a similar gesture to honor children killed in South Africa.

The letter, initiated by the Coordinating Board of Jewish Organizations here, said, “We deeply regret that the memory of children should have been sullied by an attempt at political manipulation of these sad events.”

The letter pointed out that many of the children killed in the Palestinian unrest were deliberately incited to violence, “in contravention of fundamental humanitarian principles” condemning “the exploitation of children in armed conflict.”

“It would have been more appropriate to recall the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent children all over the world in various conflicts, particularly in the Middle East, where they died as military conscripts on the battlefields between Iran and Iraq,” the letter said.

It was signed by representatives of the International Council of Jewish Women, Women’s International Zionist Federation, World Jewish Congress and the World Union of Progressive Judaism.

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