Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lashed out at women’s rights groups across the world for their deafening silence on the systematic rape committed by Hamas against Israeli women on 7 October.
“I heard, as you have, about the sexual abuse and rapes of unparalleled brutality. But I must say that up until a few days ago, I did not hear the human rights organisations. I did not hear the women’s organisations. I did not hear the UN. I did not hear them crying out. And I say to them: ‘Where are you? You are being silent because they are Jewish women?” Netanyahu said at a press conference in Hebrew on Tuesday before switching to English.
“I want to say this in a language that everyone understands: I say to the women’s rights organisations, to the human rights organisations, you’ve heard of the rape of Israeli women, horrible atrocities, sexual mutilation. Where the hell are you? I expect all civilised leaders, governments, nations, to speak up against this atrocity,” he continued.
Netanyahu’s remarks came after Israel’s Permanent Mission to the UN held a special session at the UN headquarter in New York, calling on the world to condemn Hamas’ rape.
Where the hell are you?? pic.twitter.com/29bIZxHzC5
— Luís Da Cruz (@morphiaz) December 5, 2023
US Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (Democrat) spoke at the event, saying: “It’s important that we are giving a voice to the women raped and murdered on October 7, and it is important that we are speaking truth to power in this place at this time. When I saw the list of women’s organisations that said nothing I was shocked. Where is the solidarity for women in this world?”
Former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton also addressed the event in a videotaped recording.
“Rape as a weapon of war is a crime against humanity. It has no place in any conflict. It is outrageous that some who claim to stand for justice are closing their eyes and hearts to the victims of Hamas violence,” Clinton said.
The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women has been harshly criticised for staying silent on the systematic rape for nearly two months until it finally issued a condemnation last week.
Women in New York, London and Tel Aviv have held demonstrations in past weeks to highlight the lack of outcry over Hamas’ rape, with women dressed as rape victims with tape over their mouths.
Concern about the remaining female Israeli hostages inside Gaza has also grown in recent weeks after the mass rape on 7 October was revealed.
“The fact that they continue to hold women hostages, the fact that they continue to hold children hostages, just the fact that it seems one of the reasons they don’t want to turn women over they’ve been holding hostage, and the reason this pause fell apart, is they don’t want those women to be able to talk about what happened to them during their time in custody,” US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said.
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