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UN expresses grave concern over rape of women in Gaza by Israeli soldiers

March 25, 2024 at 2:32 pm

This picture taken from the Israeli border with the northern Gaza Strip shows Israeli soldiers watching Gaza City from a position on January 1, 2024 [MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images]

The UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women and Girls, Reem Al-Salem, voiced her alarm regarding the escalating offences of rape perpetrated by Israeli soldiers against Palestinian women in Gaza.

Al-Salem expressed her concern in a statement posted on X, stating, “It is abhorrent that such reports of sexual violence continue unabated – not to mention that this is but one of multiple forms of violence that Palestinian women are subjected to on the basis of being Palestinian and being women.”

She further emphasised, “Rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity or a constitutive act with respect to genocide! It must stop.”

According to Al-Jazeera, reports have emerged of rape crimes committed by Israeli soldiers against women in Gaza during the Occupation army’s raid of Al-Shifa Hospital.

Jamila Al-Hissi, who found herself trapped in a nearby building, recounted that the Israeli soldiers were involved in the abduction, rape and killing of women during the raid of the hospital.

“They raped women, kidnapped women, executed women and pulled dead bodies from under the rubble to unleash their dogs on them,” she said.

She said that nothing is worse than this situation. “Is there anything more horrifying than hearing women call for help?” she added,” When we try to reach them to provide assistance, they shoot us.”

The Israeli army has been bombing and shooting inside and in the vicinity of Al-Shifa Medical Complex in Gaza City since Monday.

This is not the first time the Israeli army has attacked the Al-Shifa Complex. In November, the army stormed the medical complex, killing dozens and wounding more and arrested a number of medical staff, patients and displaced persons, stealing dead bodies from within the hospital grounds and exhuming graves of those buried within its courtyards.

The casualty count since 7 October has now reached 32,226 Palestinians, mostly women and children, killed, and 74,518 others injured.

Moreover, the war has pushed 85 per cent of the Territory’s population into internal displacement, destroyed or damaged most of the enclave’s infrastructure and created conditions for a famine as aid deliveries remain woefully insufficient.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, which, in an interim ruling in January, ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

READ MORE: ‘Women in Gaza are being raped and this is not being investigated or reported’