UN report denounces 'unprecedented scale' of violations against children in Gaza, West Bank and Israel

UN report denounces 'unprecedented scale' of violations against children in Gaza, West Bank and Israel

According to this report, the number of “serious violations” committed in the occupied territories and in Israel is higher than anywhere else in the world.

Grave violations against children in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel were more numerous than anywhere else in the world last year, according to a United Nations report to be released this week.

The report on children and armed conflict, seen by the Guardian, found more cases of war crimes against children in the occupied territories and Israel than anywhere else, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar , in Somalia, Nigeria and Sudan.

“Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories exhibit an unprecedented scale and intensity of grave violations against children,” the report said.

The annual assessment, due to be presented to the UN General Assembly later this week by Secretary-General António Guterres, mentions Israel for the first time in an annex of states responsible for violating children's rights , which aroused the indignation of the Israeli government.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the United Nations had “added itself to history's blacklist by joining those who support Hamas assassins.”

The report only details cases that UN investigators were able to verify, and therefore represents only a portion of the total number of child deaths and injuries over the past year.

In total, the United Nations verified “8,009 serious violations against 4,360 children” in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, more than twice the figures for the DRC, the second country most affected by the violence against children.

Of the total number of child victims verified, 4,247 were Palestinian, 113 were Israeli.

In total, 5,698 violations were attributed to the Israeli armed and security forces, and 116 to Hamas' armed wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. Israeli settlers were found responsible in 51 cases, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad's al-Quds brigades were implicated in 21 cases.

Between October 7 and the end of December last year, the UN verified the killing of 2,051 Palestinian children, and said the process of assigning responsibility was ongoing, but the report noted: “Most incidents were caused by the use of explosive weapons in areas populated by Israeli armed and security forces.”

The report acknowledges that it only reflects a partial picture of the situation in Gaza.

“Due to serious difficulties of access, particularly in the Gaza Strip, the information presented here does not reflect the full extent of the violations committed against children in this situation,” the report states.

The report also documents serious abuses by Israeli forces in the West Bank, with 126 Palestinian children killed and 906 detained. The UN verified five cases in which soldiers used boys “to protect forces during law enforcement operations.”

During 2023, before Hamas' attack on Israel on October 7, the United Nations said that the armed wings of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad organized “summer camps”, in which children were exposed to “military content and activities”.

During the first three months of the war, the UN verified 23 separate cases of denial of humanitarian access by Israeli authorities “related to the refusal to coordinate humanitarian aid missions and the prevention of access to medical care “.

During the Israeli offensive in Gaza, the UN noted that “almost all essential infrastructure, facilities and services were attacked, including accommodation sites, UN facilities, schools, hospitals , water supply and sanitation facilities, grain mills and bakeries.”

“Children are at risk of starvation, severe malnutrition and preventable death,” the UN report said.

“I am appalled by the dramatic increase, unprecedented scale and intensity of grave violations against children in the Gaza Strip, Israel and the occupied West Bank,” Guterres said in his report. at the General Assembly.

Translation by Palestine Media Agency

Source: The Guardian