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SEVEN WEEKS OF SILENCE BROKEN

UN chief calls to investigate Hamas sex crimes

"There are numerous accounts of sexual violence during the abhorrent acts of terror by Hamas on 7 October that must be vigorously investigated," says UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on November 20, 2023. 
Photo: Yuki Iwamura/AFP
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on November 20, 2023. Photo: Yuki Iwamura/AFP

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has broken his silence on allegations of sex crimes carried out by Hamas terrorists on October 7, saying such reports must be investigated.

“There are numerous accounts of sexual violence during the abhorrent acts of terror by Hamas on 7 October that must be vigorously investigated and prosecuted,” Guterres wrote on X, more than 50 days after the terror onslaught.

He made similar comments a few hours earlier during a briefing to the UN Security Council, but failed to mention Hamas or terrorism and called the actions of October 7 simply “the attacks”.

Israeli ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan slammed Guterres for taking close to eight weeks to speak up.

“The Secretary-General’s words only sharpen the fact that when it comes to Israeli women, sexual violence that has been proven by state authorities still needs to be ‘investigated’,” he wrote on X.

Erdan suggested that Guterres was “merely trying to calm the justified anger of many around the world for his silence and the silence of the UN”, noting that the UN chief apparently felt no such need to doubt any claims made by Hamas and the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry.

The ambassador said the Israeli mission plans to hold an event next week at the UN, where “we will present findings proving that Hamas committed sexual crimes,” and he invited Guterres to attend and “unequivocally condemn Hamas”.

Israeli officials have been furious at global human rights’ groups and women’s activist groups who have consistently dismissed evidence and testimony over sex abuse crimes carried out during the Hamas onslaught.

Guterres’s comments came just days after the UN office for women’s issues last week was slammed for posting and then deleting a condemnation of “the brutal attacks by Hamas on October 7.”

Sarah Hendriks, deputy director at UN Women, was pressed in a CNN interview last Wednesday about the group’s silence.

Hendriks said that the agency is “deeply alarmed at the disturbing reports of gender-based and sexual violence on October 7”, adding that “we absolutely unequivocally condemn all forms of violence against women and girls.”

CNN anchor Bianna Golodryga asked Hendriks why the group has failed to “specifically call out Hamas” in the wake of “mounting evidence”. In her response, Hendriks again failed to name Hamas and said the agency always supports an “impartial, independent investigation”.

The main UN Women account did not make any mention of such reports until November 25. That followed weeks of calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and condemnation of Israel’s military campaign, but no direct reference to the Hamas assault that prompted it.

Israeli women’s rights groups have slammed their international counterparts for ignoring the mounting evidence of such allegations.

Israeli police investigators are currently building several sexual assault cases against Hamas terrorists who participated in the massacres in southern Israel on October 7, with the goal of eventually trying the perpetrators for rape and other crimes.TIMES OF ISRAEL

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