I’ve often asked myself this question. It may not be so black and white. Is UNICEF really ignoring Palestinian child abuse or is there something deeper worth looking into? UNICEF is one of the better umbrella organizations of the UN, and I do applaud their work in helping children world-wide in lesser developed, war-torn nations.
As I was researching for this article, I noticed on UNICEF’s social media pages there isn’t one tweet or Facebook post showing outrage for the rampant abuse children in the Palestinian Authority and Gaza experience on a daily basis: Hamas paramilitary camps that start at a young age, children used as human shields and put in very dangerous areas where rocket launchers and guns are going off, storage of weapons in schools in Gaza, beatings and emotional abuse by elders such as parents, uncles and and the education system that teaches them to hate Jews from day one. Then there are parents who encourage children (such as the Tamimi family) to be used as weapons to harass soldiers, and finally, the current wave of stabbings by a generation taught by all of the above. The youngest terrorist being eleven years old.
In my research for this article I noticed that Middle East Monitor posed an article claiming that UNICEF stated: “Israel deliberately murdered 264 Palestinian children.” That headline is the furthest thing from the truth. Monica Awad, Communications Expert for UNRWA, vehemently denied accusing Israel of murdering children. In my interview with Monica, I found her to be extremely dedicated to her job. She expressed that at the time of her interview with Al Jazeera quoted by Middle East Monitor that five minutes after the interview the female writer changed the entire narrative She was clearly upset over the libel written about her.
So what is really happening and why? Is the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Fatah and the PLO censoring every effort UNICEF’s Jerusalem bureau is doing to help these children? Is UNICEF afraid to speak out against them for fear of retribution?
On the UNICEF Jerusalem website, statistics of Israeli and Palestinian children killed in war are listed. Poverty in Gaza is duly noted. Here is where it gets interesting. Going back to 2012, Jerusalem Post journalist Khaled Abu Toameh wrote an article that Palestinians were going to boycott UNICEF for taking bids from Israeli contractors for construction in Gaza. At that time, Catherine Weibel of UNICEF explained, “the plan was to use Palestinian contractors for goods and services needed in those areas, and if those contractors could not provide necessary needs, Israel was the next option.”
If Israel was only considered as a second option in 2012, why the outrageous threat of a boycott? It feels very sinister that Palestinians in certain positions will do anything including harassing and intimidating women in UNICEF willing to work with Israel to help those less fortunate. Perhaps anyone who gets too close to helping these children not be used disposable collateral will suffer a devastating consequence. It sounds like Gaza is the Saudi Arabia for children. Use them as chattel, bring them out as victims, and use them as launching pads when their desire for Jewish deaths reaches the boiling point.
I wish UNICEF safety and security during this current intifada.
I'm still trying to get hold of UNICEF officials to see what light they can shed on their operations.
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