UN set to add Israel, Hamas to 'blacklist' over violations against children

The United Nations secretary-general is set to describe Israel and Hamas as waging a war that violates children’s rights, moving the country to the body’s “blacklist” in an upcoming report to the Security Council.

Spokesman Stéphane Dujarric told reporters Friday that the head of Secretary-General António Guterres’ office informed Israel’s U.N. ambassador, Gilad Erdan, in a phone call that the nation would be in his report when he presents it to the council next week.

Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad will also be listed, according to a report by the Associated Press.

Israel was outraged by the UN’s decision, reportedly sending news organizations a video of Erdan blasting the head of Guterres’ office during a phone call. Erdan also released a statement after the announcement.

“Hamas will continue even more to use schools and hospitals because this shameful decision of the Secretary-General will only give Hamas hope to survive and extend the war and extend the suffering,” Erdan said. “Shame on him!”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also reacted to the news in a post on X, saying that “the UN put itself on the black list of history today.”

International Natanyahu 051324 AP Gil Cohen Magen

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a ceremony marking Memorial Day for fallen soldiers of Israel’s wars and victims of attacks at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl military cemetery on May 13, 2024. (Gil Cohen-Magen/Pool Photo via AP)

On the other side, Palestinian U.N. ambassador Riyad Mansour said adding Israel to the list is “an important step in the right direction,” but made it clear in a statement to AP that the decision “will not bring back tens of thousands of our children who were killed by Israel over decades.”

Meanwhile, in a statement shared with Al Jazeera, senior Palestinian official Riad Malki said the move was overdue.

“Now, faced with the catastrophe in Gaza that the world sees with its naked eyes with the genocide that specifically targets children and women, the UN secretary general no longer has excuses not to place Israel on the blacklist,” Malki said.

Israel has faced strong international criticism over the number of civilian deaths in the eight-month war with Hamas. Questions have been asked about whether the country is doing enough to prevent civilian deaths.

An Israeli airstrike at a school in Gaza Thursday left at least 40 people dead and 74 others injured, according to the United Nations, Hamas and Palestinian officials.

Israel defended the attack, but the Palestinian Ministry of Health, led by Hamas, said in a Facebook post that those killed in the strike included 14 children and nine women. Meanwhile, Israel claimed the attack was a “precise strike on a Hamas compound” inside the school.

More than 36,000 Palestinians have died since the war began, and despite continuing to face pressure to halt its campaign to destroy Hamas, Israel has continued military operations, renewing focus on the central and southern parts of the Gaza Strip.

The UN’s decision to include Israel in this report comes before Netanyahu is set to address a joint session of Congress on July 24th. The top four congressional leaders invited him to speak and top Republicans announced the upcoming address Thursday.

Progressive Democrats have expressed intense disapproval of the decision to invite Netanyahu, with some already vowing to skip the address. Even the thought of an invitation enraged progressives, including Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), who claimed Netanyahu “appears hell-bent on wiping out the population of Gaza.”

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