In a win for the truth and a tribute to diplomacy, the United Nations decided not to include Israel in its annual report designed to expose nations whose armed forces purportedly harm children in significant numbers. This decision follows a concerted lobbying effort by Israeli officials to correct misperceptions and unfounded accusations.
Each year, the United Nations shares this report with members of the U.N. Security Council to highlight areas of concern in children’s treatment in conflict zones. While Israel has never been listed, pressures were mounting this year due to a 2021 warning prompted by Palestinian lobbying. Yet, after carefully reviewing Israel’s input and actions, the United Nations upheld Israel’s unlisted status.
Over recent weeks, Gilad Erdan, the Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations, and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs have diligently worked to dispel misleading allegations. They argued that the United Nations’ accusations were based on flawed or misconstrued data.
In a meeting with U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, Erdan and Maj. Gen. Ghassan Alian shared critical evidence highlighting that many rockets fired by Arab terror organizations toward Israel actually fell short, causing harm to children in Gaza instead. They also demonstrated instances where minors from Palestinian Authority-controlled territories were directly involved in terror acts and affiliated with terrorist organizations.
Beyond these immediate actions, they presented examples of the Palestinian Authority’s incitement—both on social media and in schools—that fuelled increased terror attacks by Arab minors. In contrast, they underscored the civil and life-improving initiatives Israel undertakes to benefit Palestinian Authority residents.
In a letter to Virginia Gamba, U.N. under-secretary-general, Erdan illuminated the extensive harm to Palestinian children due to Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s aggression, emphasizing the organization’s use of its population and civilian infrastructure, particularly children, for attacks.
Erdan and his team shared compelling evidence of Israel’s constant efforts to avoid civilian casualties, including children. They provided a video demonstrating instances where Israel aborted or modified strikes on Gazan terror targets to avoid harm to civilians nearby.
This year’s U.N. report marks a significant milestone as it includes Russia, a permanent U.N. Security Council member, for the first time, alongside affiliated groups. The report also condemns violence against children in various nations, including the Congo, Haiti, Somalia, and Syria.
While there’s still work to be done to ensure the truth about Israel’s role in these conflicts is widely recognized, this U.N. decision underscores Israel’s unwavering commitment to preserving the sanctity of innocent lives. We applaud Israel’s ongoing efforts to safeguard children and improve living conditions, despite the challenging circumstances. Amidst conflict and turmoil, the heart of Israel shines through its dedication to the values of justice, compassion, and peace.