update deskIsrael at War

Jerusalem recalls UN envoy over alleged cover-up of Hamas sex crimes

The announcement came as the U.N. special representative on sexual violence in conflict delivered her findings.

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan speaks in the General Assembly Hall, Jan. 16, 2023. Photo by Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90.
Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan speaks in the General Assembly Hall, Jan. 16, 2023. Photo by Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90.

Israel has recalled its ambassador to the United Nations, accusing the international organization of attempting to ignore a report on sexual violence by Hamas terrorists during the group’s Oct. 7 onslaught on the northwestern Negev.

“Despite the authority granted to him, the U.N. secretary-general did not order the convening of the Security Council in light of the findings, in order to declare Hamas a terrorist organization and impose sanctions on its supporters,” Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz tweeted on Monday night.

Katz’s announcement came as U.N. Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict Pramila Patten delivered her findings following a fact-finding mission to Israel.

After last month’s visit, the Mauritian barrister acknowledged that she wasn’t able to sleep for a week after watching a video compilation at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem of Hamas atrocities.

Patten’s team, which included experts in the fields of law and medicine, conducted dozens of in-depth interviews with survivors and witnesses of the Oct. 7 attacks, released hostages and first responders, in addition to reviewing some 5,000 photos and 50 hours of video footage.

The U.N. mission concluded that there are “reasonable grounds” to believe that sexual crimes were committed in many locations on Oct. 7, including rape and gang rape in at least three sites in southern Israel.

They also found a pattern of victims, mostly women, found wholly or partially naked, bound and shot across multiple locations, which “may be indicative of some forms of sexual violence,” according to a press statement.

With regards to the 253 hostages taken to Gaza, Patten discovered “clear and convincing information that sexual violence including rape, sexualized torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment has been committed,” she told reporters during a press conference on Monday.

“We also have reasonable grounds to believe that such violence may still be ongoing against those still held in captivity,” she added.

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan told fellow envoys earlier on Monday that “today, these testimonies [about sexual violence] will receive official recognition from the U.N special representative on sexual violence in conflict, Pramila Patten.

“Will you still continue with your silence and indifference? What if these were your daughters, your granddaughters? Would you continue to ignore them, or would you demand immediate action?” he asked.

According to Erdan, calling for a halt to Israel’s military campaign against Hamas essentially means “abandoning these women to the sexual[ly] abusing Hamas monsters.

“Colleagues, in mere hours, SRSG [Special Representative of the Secretary-General] Patten will present her report on the sexual crimes that took place on October 7. Will this wake you up? Will it change your priorities?” he asked.

Hamas terrorists murdered around 1,200 people in a mass attack launched from Gaza on Oct. 7, which included the firing of thousands of rockets and the infiltration of the Jewish state by around 3,000 terrorists.

Hamas openly seeks to destroy Israel in its entirety and replace it with a Palestinian-Islamic state. Article 13 of its charter states that “there is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad.”

The United States designated Hamas as a foreign terrorist organization in 1995. Numerous other countries and international organizations have likewise enacted sanctions against Hamas.

The U.N. does not list Hamas as a terrorist group. Last month, Foreign Minister Katz slammed Martin Griffiths, under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, for describing Hamas as a “political movement.”

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