(JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the United Nations of limitless hypocrisy after its secretary-general singled out Israel at a meeting on children in war zones.
“This is a black day for the UN,” Netanyahu said in a late-night statement Thursday on the remarks by Ban Ki-moon concerning last year’s war in Gaza. “The Hamas terror organization is awarded immunity by the United Nations, even though it has been proven beyond any doubt that it committed war crimes by firing from hospitals, mosques and from within U.N. facilities. It turns out there is no limit to hypocrisy.”
Instead of focusing on how Hamas “made hostages of Gaza’s children when it fired at Israel from preschools and dug tunnels towards Israeli preschools, the United Nations has again chosen to reproach Israel,” Netanyahu said.
While Ban on Thursday mentioned war zones such as Iraq, Syria and South Sudan, Israel was the only country he called on to take action to protect children in war zones.
“Last year was one of the worst in recent memory for children in countries affected by conflict,” the U.N. leader said, adding that he was “deeply alarmed at the suffering of so many children as a result of Israeli military operations in Gaza last year.”
“I urge Israel to take concrete and immediate steps, including by reviewing existing policies and practices, to protect and prevent the killing and maiming of children, and to respect the special protections afforded to schools and hospitals,” Ban added.
Earlier this month, Ban took both Israel and Hamas off of a blacklist submitted to him by U.N. investigators of violators of children’s rights in conflict zones. Still, Ban charged that Israel had used excessive force during its 2014 war with Hamas in Gaza.
Last year, Ban also condemned Hamas’ use of at least three U.N. schools for storing weapons.
Israel, Netanyahu said, holds itself to the highest moral standards in combat “as was determined just this past week by a group of senior American and European generals.”