Israel lashes out at senior UN envoy

Israel lashes out at senior UN envoy
2 min read
18 June, 2015
Israel has accused a senior UN official of 'bias' and 'improper conduct' in preparing a report that criticised the Israeli army over its war in 2014 on Gaza.
Over 500 children were killed during the 2014 Gaza war between Hamas and Israel [AFP]

Israel has accused a senior UN official of misconduct in preparing a report that severely criticised the Israeli army over the 2014 Gaza war.

More than 2,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians and including 540 children, were killed during last year's 50-day Israeli war on Gaza, while 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel were killed. 

A UN inquiry found that Israel fired on seven UN schools and killed 44 Palestinians seeking shelter.

The report was prepared by UN envoy on children and armed conflict, Leila Zerrougui, but was presented in UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's name. 

Israeli UN Ambassador Ron Prosor accused Zerrougui of a "biased conduct against Israel."  

Retuers newsagency reported that in a letter sent to Ban, 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."

But Zerrougui's chief of staff told Reuters that Israel had received the standard two weeks to respond, as well as three additional days. 

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Earlier this month, Israel was left off UN's child rights blacklist, despite the deaths of hundreds of Palestinian children. 

According to UN officials, Zerrougui included Israel on the draft blacklist of violators of children's rights, which names groups like the Taliban and Boko Haram.  

Ban decided not to include Israel's army on the final blacklist, a decision that was roundly criticised by 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. 

In a report released Sunday, Israel defended its conduct in the Gaza war calling it both "lawful" and "legitimate".

Israel published its own findings ahead of UN's report which is expected to be published in the coming days and scheduled to be debated on June 29.

"It is my hope the report will pave the way for justice to be done to all civilians who fell victim to the fighting last year, by holding to account those alleged to have committed grave and other serious violations of international humanitarian law," High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said.