Palestinians leading bid to put Israel on U.N. list of child abusers


WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Palestinian Authority is spearheading an effort to have Israel added to a U.N. list of human rights violators.

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations, on May 1 sent Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon a letter asking him to add Israel to the list of entities committing “grave violations against children.” The secretary-general releases the list in conjunction with his annual report on children and armed conflict.

In a report Tuesday, Middle East Eye, a news site, said Ban is due to release the report in the coming weeks. A petition led by Palestinian solidarity groups is due to arrive on Ban’s desk by Thursday.

Adding Israel to the list would put it in the company of the Taliban, Congolese militias that exploit child soldiers and the Islamic State jihadist group, or ISIS.

Groups promoting the addition of Israel to the list cite a U.N. report published last month that said Israel fired on U.N. schools during last summer’s war in the Gaza Strip. Israel accused Hamas of concealing weapons in highly populated areas, including schools.

“We believe this to be an important and necessary step towards holding the perpetrators of crimes against children responsible for their actions, contributing to the efforts to end impunity, and protecting children in all situations of armed conflict without exception,” Mansour’s letter said.

Ban would likely face censure from the United States, a major U.N. funder, should he add Israel to the list.

Arab countries and Iran, a major presence on other U.N. bodies that routinely condemn Israel, are not as influential with Ban, and his listing of Israel would add heft to complaints about Israeli actions.

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