According to Israeli lawyer and women’s rights defender Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, members of Hamas committed brutal sexual violence against women during the October 7 attacks. She is convinced that it was a weapon of war. Israeli police have more than 1,500 eyewitness accounts of the events of the Hamas attack that took place on October 7 and started the current conflict. It deals with the investigation of violence against women, writes the BBC.
“I heard several accounts, for example from one survivor who was hiding in the bushes during the attack and saw several men raping one woman,” Halperin-Kaddari told the BBC. He adds that due to the concentration of similar cases in one day, but in different places within the attack, he has no doubt that the sexual violence was pre-planned and intended to be used as a weapon of war.
Hamas denies the accusations. On the Telegram social network, the movement said that these are mere lies, with which Israel tries to misrepresent the “humane” way in which Hamas treated the Israeli hostages.
Israeli women’s rights activists have called on major international organizations to publicly acknowledge that violence carried out by Hamas has been gender-based. “Unfortunately, until last week, none of them explicitly said it was sexual assault,” Halperin-Kaddari said.
Eight weeks after the attack, the United Nations issued a statement acknowledging that atrocities committed by Hamas were often conditioned by the gender of the victims. The chairperson of the UN commission of inquiry, Navi Pillay, objected to criticism that the response from the institution was delayed. He claims that the organization has been making maximum efforts in this regard. The commission is now investigating alleged war crimes on both sides, including sexual violence during the October 7 attacks.