What surprises me is that UN Women even said anything at all about countless reports of gender-based violence perpetrated by Hamas, considering they quickly issued numerous statements condemning the subsequent response by Israel to the October 7th massacre of Israeli civilians.
Daily Mail(h/t Nita) The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, known as UN Women, has been blasted as a ‘disgrace’ for ‘staying silent’ on reports women were raped and tortured by the terrorist group during the October 7 atrocities.
In the immediate aftermath and the weeks that followed, there have been widespread reports of the terrorists using sexual violence against women during the attacks, which also claimed the lives of more than 1,200 innocent civilians and saw over 200 people taken hostage.
On Friday, December, it finally issued a statement saying it was ‘alarmed’ by the reports, sparking ire from anti-Semitism groups, women’s rights campaigners and the Israeli ambassador to Britain, Tzipi Hotovely.
This was followed by a demonstration in Whitehall this morning, where protesters slammed the organisation for its perceived silence by holding signs with pictures of women kidnapped by Hamas.
In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Saturday morning UN Women said: ‘We reiterate that all women, Israeli women, Palestinian women, as all others, are entitled to a life lived in safety and free from violence.’ In a follow-up post it added: ‘We unequivocally condemn the brutal attacks by Hamas on Israel on 7 October. We are alarmed by the numerous accounts of gender-based atrocities and sexual violence during those attacks.’
Leading US campaign group Stop AntiSemitism wrote:
Journalist Nicole Lampert added: ‘All-a-f******-yula. UN Women mentions how it is ‘alarmed’ by the rapes. It has taken 8 weeks. EIGHT. ‘NOW CAN IT ASK HAMAS TO GIVE THE YOUNG WOMEN BACK. Because I’m worried the rapes are continuing.’
There has been outcry in recent weeks from Israeli women and legal activists over what they see as a conspiracy of silence over alleged rapes an sexual crimes committed by Hamas militants during the October 7 attacks.
The issue has fuelled growing anger in Israel. A cartoon last week in Yediot Aharonot newspaper depicted an Israeli woman in bloodied, torn clothes saying ‘Me too’ to a panel of three UN women – one covering her ears, one covering her eyes and one covering her mouth.
In the weeks after October 7, statements by UN Women predominantly focused on the situation in the Gaza Strip, where the Hamas government says Israel’s retaliatory bombardment has killed more than 15,000 people, mostly women and children.
Legal expert Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, a former vice-chair of CEDAW, said the reticence of such UN entities was ‘a shameful abuse of their mandate and their mission’.
At an Israeli parliamentary hearing on Monday, senior police investigator Shelly Harush provided harrowing evidence of sexual violence and mutilation including ‘an apocalypse of corpses, girls stripped bare above the waist and below’, and a grisly witness account of the gang rape, mutilation and murder of a young woman.
Another witness she cited spoke of wounds to the ‘genitals, abdomen, legs and buttocks’ with some having their ‘breasts cut off’ or sustaining ‘gunshot wounds’. First responders described encountering bodies ‘with their hands cuffed behind their backs, a woman’s corpse bleeding from the genital area’.