Israel-led UN Special Session Condemns World Silence On Hamas Using Rape As Weapon Of War

Israel-led UN Special Session Condemns World Silence On Hamas Using Rape As Weapon Of War

Dec. 5, 2023, 8:33 a.m.

Meet aims to raise awareness of sexual crimes against women during Oct. 7 massacres; US says women still held hostage so they can’t talk about what’s happened to them in captivity

Hundreds gathered at the United Nations on Monday for a special session spearheaded by Israel’s Permanent Mission to the UN, to raise awareness of the sexual crimes committed against women during Hamas’s October 7 attacks on southern communities, amid growing anger over the international community’s perceived silence on the issue.

“On October 7, Israel suffered its most brutal massacre since the Holocaust; the atrocities were more barbaric than ISIS, some say more than the Nazis,” said Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan at the outset of the event. “Families were burned alive, children executed in front of their parents and parents executed in front of their children.

“But the crimes didn’t end there: Hamas used rape and sexual violence as weapons of war. These were not spur-of-the-moment decisions to defile and mutilate girls and parade them while onlookers cheered; rather, this was premeditated,” Erdan said. “Sadly, the silence of international bodies who are supposedly defenders of women has been deafening.”

Hundreds gathered at the United Nations on Monday for a special session spearheaded by Israel’s Permanent Mission to the UN, to raise awareness of the sexual crimes committed against women during Hamas’s October 7 attacks on southern communities, amid growing anger over the international community’s perceived silence on the issue.

“On October 7, Israel suffered its most brutal massacre since the Holocaust; the atrocities were more barbaric than ISIS, some say more than the Nazis,” said Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan at the outset of the event. “Families were burned alive, children executed in front of their parents and parents executed in front of their children.

“But the crimes didn’t end there: Hamas used rape and sexual violence as weapons of war. These were not spur-of-the-moment decisions to defile and mutilate girls and parade them while onlookers cheered; rather, this was premeditated,” Erdan said. “Sadly, the silence of international bodies who are supposedly defenders of women has been deafening.”

In the face of mounting evidence to the contrary, Hamas claimed Monday that the accusations of sexual violence were part of “Zionist campaigns which promote unfounded lies and allegations to demonize the Palestinian resistance.”

Erdan, who initiated the special session, told The Times of Israel that he picked UN Headquarters as the venue to “highlight the hypocrisy and double standards of UN Women and other UN agencies that completely abandoned Israeli women assaulted by Hamas.”

On December 1, UN Women released another statement that began by expressing “deep regret” that Israeli operations had resumed in Gaza, and reiterated that “women, Israeli women, Palestinian women, as all others, are entitled to a life lived in safety and free from violence.”

The statement proceeded to “unequivocally condemn the brutal attacks by Hamas” and expressed alarm at “the numerous accounts of gender-based atrocities and sexual violence during those attacks.”

Erdan told The Times of Israel he remains unimpressed with UN Women, accusing the organization of paying “lip service” to Israelis to ease the pressure. On Saturday, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen called on the group’s executive director Sima Sami Bahous to resign.

Monday’s session was also attended by Democratic US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and keynoted by former Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, founder of Lean In, a women’s rights and advancement group.

“It’s important that we are giving a voice to the women raped and murdered on October 7, and it is important that we are speaking truth to power in this place at this time,” said Gillibrand. “When I saw the list of women’s organizations that said nothing I was shocked. Where is the solidarity for women in this world?”

“The horrific acts by Hamas are indescribable, I’ve seen much of the raw footage. The sheer level of evil, you can’t unsee it; it haunts you,” Gillibrand continued. “While it is hard to tell these stories, we must collectively ensure that the world knows the heinous, barbaric nature of Hamas. We must ensure this is engraved in history for all time.”

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