U.N. Chief Undecided On IDF Censure

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon is leaning toward not including Israel on an annual list of states responsible for violating children’s rights in armed conflicts, despite proposals to include it, U.N. diplomatic sources said.

Israel’s foreign ministry has denied pressuring Ban, but several diplomatic sources familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity that the Israelis were lobbying his office hard to ensure they were not on the list.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said, “There is absolutely no Israeli pressure on the U.N. secretary-general. The pressure comes from those countries who want to include Israel in the worst possible list.”

“Those countries are motivated by hatred and totally blind to their own failings,” he said. “This is a heinous and hypocritical attempt to besmirch the image of Israel and it is doomed to fail.”

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Ban had not made a decision on whether to include Israel in the U.N. report, which is due in the coming weeks. The report lists countries where serious violations against children’s rights have occurred.

A draft of the report by Ban’s special envoy for children and armed conflict, Leila Zerrougui of Algeria, included the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for incidents including attacks on schools and hospitals in the Gaza Strip war last year. It also cited reports of violations by the Palestinian group Hamas during the conflict.