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Hamas demands international probe into Israel’s abuse of Palestinian women 

Women from Gaza share their testimony of being taken to Damon prison by Israeli soldiers after being kidnapped while using the designated ‘safe route’.

February 20, 2024 at 11:19 am

The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement has demanded an international investigation into reports that Israeli forces have “arbitrarily detained, sexually abused, and executed Palestinian women and girls in the Gaza Strip”, Anadolu news agency has reported. Yesterday, seven independent UN rights experts also called for an independent probe into Israeli abuses against Palestinian women and girls, including killings, rapes and sexual assault.

In a statement issued on the Hamas telegram channel, it said that the call by the UN experts is “additional evidence of the crime of genocide and ethnic cleansing committed by the [Israeli] occupation led by the war criminal [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and his Nazi army against our Palestinian people.”

Hamas pointed out that, “The violations that Palestinian women are exposed to by the [Israeli] occupation army, such as executions, arbitrary arrests, severe beatings and deprivation of food and medicine during detention, in addition to the threats of rape and insults during interrogation, require the opening of an international investigation to hold this rogue entity and its leaders accountable for their brutal crimes.”

The movement called for the UN report to be included in the genocide case filed against Israel before the International Court of Justice.

The report was compiled by Reem Alsalem, UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls; Francesca Albanese, Special Rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories; and Dorothy Estrada Tanck, Claudia Flores, Ivana Krstić, Haina Lu and Laura Nyirinkindi of the working group on discrimination against women and girls.

The group of experts expressed deep “shock by reports of the deliberate targeting and extrajudicial killing of Palestinian women and children in places where they sought refuge, or while fleeing. Some of them were reportedly holding white pieces of cloth when they were killed by the Israeli army or affiliated forces. We are particularly distressed by reports that Palestinian women and girls in detention have also been subjected to multiple forms of sexual assault, such as being stripped naked and searched by male Israeli army officers. At least two female Palestinian detainees were reportedly raped while others were reportedly threatened with rape and sexual violence.”

Since 7 October, Israel has been engaged in a deadly military offensive against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, which has killed over 29,000 children, women and men, and wounded tens of thousands more. The Israeli offensive has pushed 85 per cent of the enclave’s population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine. Sixty per cent of the civilian infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

READ: Gaza women, girls being strip searched, raped by male Israel soldiers, UN warns