Israel has accused a senior U.N. official of misconduct in preparing a report that harshly criticized the Israeli army over its conduct in the 2014 Gaza war.
Israeli U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor accused the report’s author, the U.N. envoy on children and armed conflict, Leila Zerrougui of Algeria, of “biased conduct against Israel.”
He vehemently denied Israel had violated international law during the war.
In a letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, seen by Reuters, Prosor voiced “deep concerns regarding the improper conduct — at every working level — of the office of … Zerrougui in the process of drafting and producing the report.”
Zerrougui is Ban’s deputy, and although she prepared the document, it was presented in Ban’s name.
Prosor said Zerrougui’s office “repeatedly refused attempts on our part to provide official evidence and facts.”
Zerrougui’s chief of staff Sharon Riggle said in an email to Reuters that Israel had received the standard two weeks to respond, as well as three additional days. She said it was not possible to incorporate all comments from individual governments.
Prosor said the report disproportionately focused on Israel, even though Iraq, where Islamic State controls significant territory, had the highest number of child casualties.
The report includes 32 paragraphs on Israel, compared with eight on Iraq, 15 on Afghanistan, 18 on Syria and 11 on Darfur.
Zerrougui’s report did not mention Hamas by name. Several Israeli officials said on condition of anonymity that Israel told Zerrougui’s office how Hamas rockets severely damaged Israeli medical centers and schools — details that were not mentioned.
The officials also said the human rights groups that helped draft Zerrougui’s report were biased against Israel.
Prior to the release of the report, Israel had expressed dissatisfaction with the author’s recommendation in a draft version that both Hamas and Israel should be blacklisted for child rights violations. Ban decided to delete it, but the mere equation of Hamas terrorist crimes with IDF policy, which requires extensive efforts to avoid civilian casualties, angered Israeli officials.