Israel Has Been Added To The UN Blacklist – What Does It Mean?

The majority of Palestinians killed by Israel in Gaza are women and children. (Photo: via WAFA)

By Robert Inlakesh

It is very possible that the Israeli government will react by completely barring most UN officials from entering the territory they control.

On June 7, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres informed Israel’s UN ambassador Gilad Erdan that “Israeli Security Forces” would be named in their annual report which names and shames States/groups that harm children. 

This would place Israel on an infamous UN “blacklist” that includes the likes of ISIS and Al-Qaeda.

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Responding to a courtesy notification call from the UN’s Secretary-General on June 7, the Israeli ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, responded by condemning the United Nations and claiming it had sided with Hamas while maintaining the Israeli military was “the most moral army”. 

The cartoonish video of the Israeli ambassador was widely shared throughout the international media, while fellow Israeli officials also doubled down on the alleged morality of their forces.

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, responded by calling it “shameful” and stating that “the UN has put itself today on the blacklist of history when it joined those who support the Hamas murderers. The IDF is the world’s most moral army, and no absurd UN decision can change that.” Israeli opposition leader and member of the unity war government, Benny Gantz, called the UN’s decision a “historic low” for there to be criticism of Israeli forces.

The “world’s most moral army” is accused by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Israel’s own top rights group, B’Tselem, of administering an Apartheid system. This, as it has also committed actions that triggered the International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor to call for arrest warrants against the Israeli PM and his Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. In addition to this, Israel stands plausibly accused of Genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the sheer volume of human rights reports, expert opinions at the UN and undeniably high child death toll, make it impossible to deny the conduct of this military.

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The UN’s Global is included as part of a report on harm to children in armed conflicts that UN Secretary-General Guterres set out to present to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on June 14. It is said to not actually name “Israel” specifically, instead labeling “Israeli Security Forces” as having carried out the crimes, which could help Tel Aviv avoid some legally binding backlash. This is in addition to the fact that the United States consistently shelters the Israeli government at the UNSC.

The first time that the US didn’t veto an Israeli-related Security Council resolution, since the tail end of the Obama administration, was during the middle of Ramadan. The UNSC tabled a draft resolution that called for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza until the end of the Muslim Holy Month, which the US government abstained on. Immediately afterward, however, the US Biden administration gave the Israelis a green light to violate the UNSC resolution, by claiming that to their understanding it was “not binding”; a historic first as it is well understood that all UNSC resolutions are, by their nature, legally binding. 

Where there may be immediate consequences, however, is in the UN itself. According to Israeli Foreign Minister, Israel Katz, “the Secretary-General’s measure will have consequences for Israel’s relations with the UN”, which he said after asserting that the decision taken was “further evidence of [Guterres’] hostility towards Israel, and his deliberate disregard – and not for the first time – Hamas’ attack of October 7”. 

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It is very possible that the Israeli government will react by completely barring most UN officials from entering the territory they control and using their connections with the US government to punish UN-related bodies further, both moves they have already taken during the course of this war.

While nations like the United Kingdom and United States are unlikely to even bat an eye at the UN placing Israel on its “blacklist” for murdering upwards of 15,000 children in Gaza, beyond dismissing it as an incorrect move, other countries, that place value on the opinion of the UN and international law, may choose to take action. 

The move may end up placing pressure on some nations to take stronger steps against Israel, while the most impact may be on the conduct of corporations and companies in doing business with the Israeli regime. Possible legal baggage, widespread boycott campaigns and stains on the reputations of businesses working with a State registered on a “blacklist” for harming children may deter many working relationships and inflict further damage to the Israeli economy.

It is also not a good look to have your nation noted on a list, alongside ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Al-Shabab and Boko Haram. At the start of the Gaza war, the Israeli propaganda campaign tried desperately to connect Hamas with ISIS, so this represents another public relations blow. 

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In fact, when you look at the number of children killed by ISIS in total during its entire existence, it doesn’t even come close to the number of children murdered by the Israeli military in just over 8 months. For instance, during the first two years of the ISIS insurgency in Iraq, the UN reported that the group killed 18,800 civilians in total; these two years were the group’s most bloodthirsty and were truly shocking. 

However, the Israeli military has murdered over 15,500 children alone in Gaza in a much shorter period of time and if you are to include those missing under the rubble, Israel has killed more children than the total ISIS civilian kill toll in its worst years of terror.

Adding Israel to the UN’s infamous blacklist may have small to no short-term impacts, but could be added to piling evidence presented against the Israelis at the ICJ and will forever remain as a stain on their record. This decision is one of many that make the situation in Gaza even more clear.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

– Robert Inlakesh is a journalist, writer, and documentary filmmaker. He focuses on the Middle East, specializing in Palestine. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

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