U.N. agencies on the ground in Gaza and Palestine condemned Israel as a violator of children rights during Israel's war on Gaza last summer, according to a confidential report leaked to Reuters on Friday.
The U.N. report said that 540 children died in Gaza last summer as a result of the Israeli 50-day attack on Gaza last July. The report added that 371 of those children where 12 years old or younger.
The U.N. report is scheduled to be submitted to Leila Zerrougui of Algeria, the U.N. special envoy for children and armed conflict. Zerrougui is currently preparing a final annual list of children rights violators to be submitted to the U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
However, the report fell short of concluding that Israel should be included in the final list. Including Israel in the list could prompt major criticism from the United States and Israel, who argued last summer that Israel attacked the Gaza Strip on the grounds of self-defense against the Palestinian political party Hamas.
According to Reuters, the report said that it was "not clear how the listing criteria should be applied and whether they had been satisfied" for Israel.
In fact, Republican U.S. senator and presidential hopeful Ted Cruz expressed his “outrage” that Israel could be included in the list. Two days ago, the senator wrote a letter to Ban saying that it would be false and shameful to “equate Israel with some of the most barbaric terrorist organizations around the world.”
He also threatened that the U.N. would face serious consequences if Israel was to be included in the list.
“As the largest contributor to the United Nations, Congress will have no choice but to reassess the United States’ relationship with the United Nations and consider serious consequences if you choose to take this action,” Cruz wrote.
Yet, the draft report has strong language on alleged violations of children rights in the Gaza war. The report accused Israeli forces of unlawful killing, injuring and illegal detentions of Palestinian children. It also condenmed the repeated attacks on schools during the Gaza war.
While Cruz and others accuse Hamas of recruitment of children, the U.N. agencies on the ground in Gaza and the West bank said in the report that there was not enough information to support such allegations.