Israel left off UN child rights black-list
The UN has left Israel off a "list of shame" of children's rights violators despite an outcry over the death of more than 500 children in the Gaza war.
Rights groups had called on Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, who said he was "deeply alarmed" by the "grave violations suffered by children as a result of Israeli military operations in 2014".
"The unprecedented and unacceptable scale of the impact on children in 2014 raises grave concerns about Israel's compliance with international humanitarian law, notably the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution in attack, and respect for international human rights law, particularly in relation to excessive use of force," he said.
The UN chief cited a "dramatic increase" in the number of children killed in Israel and in the Palestinian territories in 2014.
At least 557 Palestinian children were killed and 4,249 were injured last year.
The decision was roundly criticised by the Palestinians.
"The failure to list Israel as a violator of child rights, when it so clearly meets the criteria, will only further embolden such impunity, resulting in more suffering for innocent Palestinian children," said Palestinian representative Riyad Mansour.
Human Rights Watch regretted the "disappointing" decision and called for both Israel and Hamas to be added to the list.
"Facts and consistency dictated that both be included... but political pressure seems to have prevailed," said HRW crisis advocacy director Philippe Bolopion.
The blacklist of children's rights violators was released just two months after a UN inquiry found that the Israeli military was responsible for seven attacks on UN schools in Gaza that were used as shelters during the 2014 war.
The 50-day conflict in Gaza last year killed 539 children and injured 2,956, most of whom are Palestinians now struggling with trauma and life-long disabilities, according to the UN children's agency UNICEF.
The Israeli ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, said that the UN "was right not to submit to the dictates of the terrorist organisations and the Arab states, in his decision not to include Israel in this shameful list, together with organisations like IS, al-Qaeda and the Taliban".