Senior UN officials in Jerusalem have been accused of caving in to Israeli pressure to abandon moves to include the state’s armed forces on a UN list of serious violators of children’s rights.
UN officials backed away from recommending that the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) be included on the list following telephone calls from senior Israeli officials. The Israelis allegedly warned of serious consequences if a meeting of UN agencies and NGOs based in Jerusalem to ratify the recommendation went ahead. Within hours, the meeting was cancelled.
“Top officials have buckled under political pressure,” said a UN source. “As a result, a clear message has been given that Israel will not be listed.”
Organisations pressing for the IDF’s inclusion on the list since the war in Gaza last summer – which left more than 500 children dead and more than 3,300 injured – include Save the Children and War Child as well as at least a dozen Palestinian human rights organisations, the Israeli rights organisation B’Tselem and UN bodies such as the children’s agency Unicef.