Thu 13 Jun 2024 2:51 pm - Jerusalem Time

A United Nations report details Israeli war crimes against Gaza

The United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry submitted a detailed report on the attack by Hamas fighters on Israel on October 7, and the war launched by Israel on Gaza since that time.

The report concludes that “both sides committed war crimes,” but concludes that there is no evidence to support the claim that Hamas engaged in mass rapes during its rampage in southern Israel. The International Commission of Inquiry found evidence of Israel's deliberate killing of civilians and the involvement of Israeli forces in acts of sexual torture.

The report's analysis of the events of October 7 concluded that Hamas deliberately targeted twenty civilian targets, leading to the deaths of hundreds. The International Commission of Inquiry found evidence that members of Hamas committed sexual assaults on Israelis, as the bodies of some women were found naked.

However, the report debunks the widespread claim repeated by senior Israeli and American officials that, on many occasions, Hamas engaged in mass rape during its offensive. The report says: “The committee reviewed testimonies obtained by journalists and Israeli police regarding rape, but was unable to independently verify these allegations.” “In addition, the Commission found that certain specific allegations were false, inaccurate, or inconsistent with other evidence or data and excluded them from its evaluation.”

While the assertion that Hamas was involved in the October 7 mass rapes has been widely discussed in the US media, Palestinian accusations that Israeli forces have systematically engaged in horrific acts of sexual violence have gone largely unreported.

The international commission of inquiry found evidence to support Palestinian allegations that Israel engaged in systematic torture and sexual humiliation. “Based on verified testimonies, videos and photographs, the commission found that sexual violence was committed throughout the [Israeli forced] evictions.” The report continues, “Palestinians were forced to watch members of their family and community strip naked in public and walk completely or partially naked while being subjected to sexual harassment.”

The International Commission of Inquiry stated that the occupation forces practiced sexual torture on males. “Soldiers repeatedly photographed and filmed males while they were subjected to forced nudity, stripping, sexual torture, and inhuman or cruel treatment,” the report concluded.

The International Commission of Inquiry concluded that Israeli forces were authorized or permitted to participate in the sexual assault. “The Commission concludes that forced stripping, nudity and other types of abuse by members of the Israeli military were either ordered or condoned.” She adds: "These actions were aimed at humiliating and degrading the victims and the Palestinian community as a whole by perpetuating gender stereotypes that create a feeling of shame, subordination, weakness and inferiority."

In addition, the Commission found evidence that Israeli forces were given the authority to target civilians. The report’s authors conclude that “given information indicating relatively low numbers of Hamas fighters compared to the broader civilian population, and given Israel’s repeated assertion that militants are ‘integrated’ into the civilian population,” the statements indicate that the Israeli government “grant[ed] Israeli Security] issued a comprehensive permit to target civilian sites on a large and indiscriminate scale in the Gaza Strip.”

The investigating committee recommends an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, something the White House has resisted for the past eight months. Last month, President Joe Biden unveiled a ceasefire proposal that he claimed originated in Tel Aviv. However, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continued to reject the idea of a permanent end to the conflict.

The United States has significant influence over Israel and could make future aid to Tel Aviv conditional on Netanyahu ending the attack. However, Biden refused to place any meaningful restrictions on arms shipments to Tel Aviv.


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A United Nations report details Israeli war crimes against Gaza