Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children claimed that Israel has violated the international law in Gaza

Leila Zerrougui

Leila Zerrougui AP/Channel 2 News

In a Un Security Council discussion, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children claimed that Israel has violated the international law when attacking a school in Gaza, and when operating from within one. She added: “I am appalled just like when an Israeli boy dies of Hamas’ shooting”. IDF refused to comment.

Sharp accusations against Israel in the UN Security Council yesterday: the council discussed the influences of the violent conflicts in the Middle East on the lives of children. One of the senior representatives of the organization took advantage of the discussion to accuse Israel of war crimes, claiming that IDF used a school in Gaza for a military base.

Leila Zerrougui, a Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children, spoke at the Security Council assembly, condemning the wrongs done to children in the Syrian battle zones, in Iraq and also in Israel. After condemning ISIS’s use of armed children, the representative lengthily referred to Operation Protective Edge, accusing Israel of exaggerated action against Gaza’s children: “At least 244 schools, 75 of them being UNRWA’s, were bombed by IDF, and one of them even served as a military base for Israel”.

Zerrougui, a senior attorney from Algeria, who has been holding her current position since 2012, claimed that “we have witnessed more powerful combat in the current operation than in the two previous campaigns altogether. I am appalled by the fact that since the beginning of July, over 500 Palestinian children have been killed and at least 3,106 have been injured by the Israeli military – two thirds of them being under the age of 12 and one third paralyzed for life”.

In spite of the sharp criticism, the UN senior also mentioned Hamas’ actions against Israel: “There are victims on both sides and I feel as appalled at the death of one Israeli boy and the injuries of six others by Hamas’ missiles”. Zerrougui condemned in addition “the indistinctive fire at populations, which exploded in three Israeli schools”. She added that armed Palestinians “used three empty UNRWA schools for weapon storage, which is unacceptable”.  

“We cannot provide immunity of the international law from blunt violations, which constitute war crimes in some cases. The Gaza events should be inquired comprehensively, and the law-breakers should be located”, Zerrougui said, claiming that “the people in Palestine and Israel are entitled to peace which will protect the rights of both sides and of children”.

The UN representative stressed that the operation in Gaza also prevented the children of Gaza from accessing education and medicine: “110 thousand students in Gaza were uprooted, and their access to education has been substantially prevented. Medical teams were also killed in Gaza during the bombardments, which prevented children from accessing urgent medical treatment”.