June 13, 2024 | Flash Brief

UN Equates Israel With Hamas in ‘Children in Armed Conflict’ Blacklist

June 13, 2024 | Flash Brief

UN Equates Israel With Hamas in ‘Children in Armed Conflict’ Blacklist

Latest Developments

The United Nations’ (UN) institutional bias against Israel was on display on June 13, as the Secretary-General’s annual report on children in armed conflict included the Jewish state on its blacklist of offenders for the first time.

The report falsely equates Hamas’ deliberate crimes with the unintentional harm caused by the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) campaign against Hamas. The IDF — referred to in the report as “Israeli armed and security forces”— was bracketed alongside the state armies of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar/Burma, Russia, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. “I am shocked by the unprecedented number of children killed and maimed by Israeli armed and security forces in the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated in the report. “The magnitude of the Israeli military campaign against Hamas’ Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades and the scope of death and destruction in the Gaza Strip have been unprecedented.”

The UN also added Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) — both U.S.-designated terrorist groups — to its list of entities that commit abuses against children. Ample evidence in the public domain shows that Hamas and PIJ deliberately embed inside schools and other civilian infrastructure and recruit children for terrorist activity. However, the report called on Israel exclusively to “grant full, rapid, safe and unhindered access for humanitarian aid and personnel into and within the Gaza Strip,” ignoring several episodes of Hamas looting aid as well as its use of schools and hospitals as military sites.

Expert Analysis

“Once again, the UN refuses to distinguish between the deliberate crimes of a terrorist organization and the tragic but inevitable costs of Israel’s campaign to defeat Hamas. Likewise, the UN fails to recognize that the war has been so painful because Hamas embeds itself among civilians, using the people of Gaza as a human shield.” — David Adesnik, FDD Senior Fellow and Director of Research   

“This report, bearing the imprimatur of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, is a particularly woeful example of the UN’s longstanding structural bias against Israel. While the report acknowledges that the current war was sparked by the Hamas atrocities on October 7, it portrays Israel as the main aggressor, eliding or outright ignoring Hamas’s strategy of leveraging the suffering of ordinary Palestinians for propaganda purposes.” — Ben Cohen, FDD Senior Analyst and Rapid Response Manager

UN Quietly Halves Child Fatality Numbers

Last month, the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) revised its child fatality figure from the Gaza war sharply downward, reporting more than 14,500 deaths on May 6, but then 7,797 on May 8. OCHA also revised downward its figure for women fatalities from more than 9,500 deaths to 4,959 deaths. The Jerusalem Post first reported the changes on May 11. The change reflected OCHA’s decision to stop using information from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Government Media Office, switching to lower figures from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Ministry of Health. The Health Ministry also has a record of making false claims, but has been more restrained than the media office.

UN Campaign Against Israel

The UN General Assembly failed to unequivocally condemn Hamas after the Iran-backed terrorist group rampaged through southern Israel on October 7, killing more than 1,200 Israelis and abducting over 200 more. Guterres claimed on October 25 that Hamas’s attack “did not happen in a vacuum.” On October 27, the UN General Assembly approved a resolution expressing concern about the “escalation of violence” in Gaza without mentioning Hamas.

Guterres also failed to acknowledge reports of Hamas’s sexual crimes until November 29, seven weeks after Hamas’s massacre. UN Women, an agency tasked with promoting women’s rights, waited until December 1 to call out Hamas’s “gender-based atrocities and sexual violence.”

On December 29, South Africa initiated proceedings against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the UN’s top court, claiming that Israel has committed genocide in its response to Hamas’s October 7 massacre. South Africa submitted another request on May 10 over Israel’s “assault on Rafah.” South Africa and Israel presented their cases before the court on May 16 and May 17, respectively. Israeli Deputy Attorney General Gilad Noam called the case an “inversion of reality,” saying that South Africa “makes a mockery of the heinous charge of genocide.”

How the UN Got Away With Wildly Inflating the Casualty Numbers in Gaza — and the Media Bought It,” by David Adesnik

Top UN Court Calls for Israel to End Anti-Hamas Operations in Rafah,” FDD Flash Brief

Israel Arrests Terrorists Hiding in School in Northern Gaza,” FDD Flash Brief

Issues:

International Organizations Israel Israel at War Palestinian Politics