Israel’s ambassador to the U.N. called home for ‘consultations’ over report into Hamas’ sex crimes on Oct. 7
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Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz called U.N. Ambassador Gilad Erdan back to Israel on Monday for “consultations,” following the publication of a U.N. report documenting Hamas’ sexual violence against Israelis on Oct. 7 that Israel believes took too long in coming and fell short in its condemnation of the Gaza-based terror group.
In addition, on Monday, Israel’s chief army spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, presented clear evidence that employees of the U.N. aid agency that serves Palestinian refugees were directly involved in the atrocities carried out by thousands of Palestinians who flooded into Israel during the attack from the coastal enclave.
In a recording shared by the spokesman, a man Hagari identified as Yusef Zidan Suleiman Al-Hawajara, an elementary school teacher in a school run by U.N. Relief and Works Agency, can be heard describing in detail how he also entered Israel and was holding an Israeli woman captive.
“On the call, you can hear him bragging about ‘sabaya,’ a female captive. He is talking about one of our girls, about one of our women,” Hagari said, pointing out that “sabaya” is an Arabic term meaning female captive and that it was the same terminology used by ISIS.
“I am a father of two girls and when I hear this conversation, I tremble, it’s horrific,” he said. “One hundred and 50 days ago, Hamas terrorists abducted and violated young women, young girls and from the testimony of hostages who have returned from captivity, we know that the women and girls in Hamas captivity are in danger.”
“Our mission to rescue our hostages from the hands of this ruthless terrorist organization is urgent,” Hagari continued. “Hamas and ISIS follow the same sick ideology and employ the same barbaric methods.”
The spokesman said that Al-Hawajara was just one of several U.N. workers who took part in the Hamas massacre, naming an UNRWA school counselor, an employee of the Hamas-run Ministry of Health and another elementary teacher as active in terrorist organizations in Gaza.
“Over 450 UNRWA employees are military operatives in terror groups in Gaza,” he added. “This is no mere coincidence, this is systematic and there is no claiming we did not know.”
“Hamas exploits humanitarian organizations and uses them to commit crimes against humanity,” Hagari added. “These terrorists are employed by UNRWA, they receive salaries that are paid for by the international community.”
“Donations that are meant for humanitarian purposes, meant to benefit the people of Gaza are funding mass murderers and rapists,” he said, highlighting that the army had shared the information with “international partners, including the U.N.”
The agency’s director of communications, Juliette Touma, said in a statement that an independent inquiry into the potential terror ties of its staff was underway and that the organization “encourages any entity that has any information on the very serious allegations against UNRWA staff to share it with the ongoing U.N. investigation.”
Despite Hagari’s comments, the U.N.’s report on Hamas’ sexual violence that was published Monday, while welcome in Israel for finally recognizing the sexual crimes committed by Hamas on Oct. 7, failed to roundly condemn Hamas’ heinous acts or make a clear call for action against the Iranian-backed terror group, the Israelis said.
Compiled by Pramila Patten, the U.N.’s special representative on sexual violence in conflict, following a fact-finding mission to Israel last month, the report “found clear and convincing information that sexual violence, including rape, sexualized torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment has been committed against hostages and has reasonable grounds to believe that such violence may be ongoing against those still held in captivity.”
In a press statement released with the report, the office noted that “there are reasonable grounds to believe that conflict-related sexual violence occurred” as part of the Oct. 7 attacks, including rape and gang-rape, after which most of the victims were murdered, and the rape of women’s corpses.
While its recommendations called for all the hostages to be released in order to ensure their protection from sexual violence, it also made a point of calling on Israel to provide greater access to the International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory – a U.N. Human Rights Council initiative that is not focused on sexual violence and whose members have credibly been accused of bias and antisemitism.
The report’s failure to condemn Hamas or call for punitive measures against the organization, nor for any proposed steps against the perpetrators of the sexual violence, prompted Katz to announce that he was calling Erdan back to Jerusalem.
“I have ordered our ambassador to the U.N. Gilad Erdan to return to Israel for immediate consultations regarding the attempt to silence the serious U.N. report on the mass rapes committed by Hamas and its aides on October 7th,” Katz wrote in a post on X.
“Despite the authority granted to him, the U.N. Secretary General did not order the convening of the Security Council in view of the findings or declare Hamas a terrorist organization and impose sanctions on its supporters,” wrote Katz.
In New York, Erdan accused the U.N. of hypocrisy that “turns International Women’s Day into a sick joke.” (The day will be marked on Friday.)
“The U.N. claims to care about women, yet as we speak right now, Israeli women are being raped and abused by Hamas terrorists. Where is the U.N.’s voice? Where is your voice? Silence. Deafening silence.”
Erdan noted that, in the past five months, the U.N. has not held any meetings about the hostages or sexual violence by Hamas. He also showed the General Assembly videos of freed hostages’ testimony about sexual violence by Hamas.
A spokesman for Katz said that calling Erdan to Israel for consultations is “meant to deter and send a message that we will not accept this calmly, that they must take dramatic steps to implement the report.”