Jerusalem, 7 June, 2023 (TPS) — A draft United Nations report accuses the Israeli military of killing 32 Palestinian children and maiming others or using them as human shields. Israeli diplomats are blasting the report, which is expected to be released in the coming weeks. At stake is whether the Israel Defense Forces will be listed in the report’s annex — a de facto blacklisting that would trigger further consequences.
On Sunday, NGO-Monitor, a Jerusalem-based organization that monitors the activities of non-governmental organizations, issued a report of its own debunking the UN claims.
The report in question is a yearly report on “Children and Armed Conflict,” issued by the UN Secretary General. The CAAC, as it is referred to, lists grave violations, including killing, maiming or abducting children, recruiting children into armed groups, sexual violence against children, attacks against schools and hospitals, and denial of humanitarian access for children.
NGO-Monitor found that the working group of Palestinian NGOs on which the UN’s data is based are linked to terror groups or are actively seeking Israel’s blacklisting and even redefining grave violations to smear Israel. It also found that few of the incidents reported could even be independently verified.
Itai Reuveni, NGO-Monitor’s director of communications, told the Tazpit Press Service that “the NGOs that report to this mechanism are supposed to be neutral and professional,” but that wasn’t the case with the Palestinian NGOs.
Moreover, much of the data regarding Gaza came from the Strip’s Health Ministry, which is run by the Hamas terror organization.
“Some of the NGOs are connected to terrorism. Some are very anti-Israel and are involved in the apartheid campaign and the BDS campaign. They’re also clear that their aim is to put the IDF on this annex,” Reuveni said.
According to NGO-Monitor’s findings, “This ‘working group’ includes Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P), designated as a terrorist entity by Israel in October 2021 over its ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization. It also includes other PFLP-linked groups – Al-Mezan and Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) – and NGOs such as B’Tselem that use the “apartheid” libel and lobby governments and international institutions to sanction Israel.”
NGO-Monitor also pointed to various statements made by the organizations declaring that getting the IDF added to the annex was their overriding objective.
Reuveni stressed that the Palestinian working group “inserted new categories of violations and definitions so that Israel can be included next to the worst countries like Syria, Iran and Iraq.”
“For example, only in the case of Israel, are they treating the use of tear gas under maiming. Maiming is considered to be a grave violation of children’s rights. But only in the case of Israel are they treating tear gas as an illegitimate lethal weapon.” Tear gas was not mentioned in any other international conflict addressed by the CAAC report.
Other examples of “grave violations” being redefined against Israel and no other country included the detention of minors, attacks on schools and restrictions on humanitarian access.
Asked about the consequences of the Israel Defense Forces being blacklisted, Reuveni said it would be “a major blow to the ability for Israel to make its case in other places, like the International Court of Justice or the International Criminal Court.”
He added that a formal blacklisting would also fuel calls for arms embargoes and other boycotts.
“It will be used in all the anti-Israel campaigns, intensify them, and give them a legitimate stamp that the IDF is on the same list as ISIS, Al-Qaida and different militias in Africa,” he said.
Reuveni also said that listing Israel in the CAAC annex would also retroactively legitimize the activities of various NGOs and UN agencies monitoring Israeli activities that technically have no mandate. He explained that when a country is added to the annex, the UN establishes a monitoring and reporting mechanism (MRM) made up of NGOs and UN figures to provide further oversight.
“The weirdest thing is that even though the IDF is not on the list, there is a functioning MRM here in Israel,” Reuveni explained. “If Israel is added to the list, the MRM will become legitimate and its mandate will become official.”
Without a mandate, Reuveni said, “Nobody knows what they do and they can basically do whatever they want. They created a punishment for Israel before the verdict was even given.”