US, UK and France request UN Security Council convene on October 7 rape report

Foreign Minister hails “big victory for morality and justice”; expects other countries to submit following Israeli request. Accuses Secretary-General of ignoring allegations.

The Foreign Ministry announced Friday that the United States, United Kingdom, and France had requested an urgent session of the UN Security Council for discussion of a UN report accusing Hamas sexual violence in the days following and preceding October 7. This was a response to a request from Israel.

In a statement, the Foreign Ministry stated that the permanent members requested to have the discussion in conjunction with a briefing given by Pramila Patten (the UN Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Conflicts) the author of the report.

Foreign Minister Israel Katz expressed his gratitude to the countries who submitted the request, and added that he “expects other countries to join the request.”

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He said, “This is an important victory for justice and morality as well as a step towards returning the hostages to their homes.”

“Every passing minute, the hostages are abused and the UN Secretary-General keeps covering his ears and closing his eyes as if it were nothing. Katz said that his silence on International Women’s Day is an embarrassment and a stain to his head.

Katz’s office informed The Times of Israel on Tuesday that Israel’s ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan had asked the US, UK France, Malta, Ecuador Japan Slovenia and Switzerland to submit the request.

Erdan asked UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to convene the body as well, although it is usually the member states who do this. Guterres invoked Article 99, a rarely used provision of the UN Charter, to call the Security Council to order in December in response to the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza.

The report will be discussed at the UN’s annual meeting in April on sexual violence and conflict.

Patten’s Report, based upon more than two weeks worth of meetings, states that there are “reasonable reasons” to believe terrorists committed sexual abuse and rape during their murderous spree on October 7. It also says that the standard of proof is even higher to show that some of the 253 Hamas hostages taken that day had been subjected to rape while in captivity.

Patten, who presented the report to the UN in New York said there were “clear and compelling information” that Hamas was responsible for the sexual abuse, including rape and sexualized torture. He also stated that the Strip was a place where Hamas was holding hostages in captivity.

Patten said at the press briefing that the mission was difficult in terms of the information we received and the details. She said that “we saw a catalogue of the most inhumane and extreme forms of torture, and other horrors.” Her mission was not to investigate.

The team stated that “a fully-fledged inquiry” was required to determine the scope and magnitude of the sexual violence, as well as the specific perpetrators.

Patten stated that based upon her evidence gathering, there is reasonable grounds to believe “rape and gang rapes” occurred in the attacks of October 7, at least three places: the Supernova festival site, Kibbutz re’im and the Route 232 nearby.

She said that in most cases, the victims had been “first raped and then murdered.” She also noted “two incidents” where women’s bodies were raped.

Patten stated that the music festival grounds where hundreds of people were killed was the scene of “brutal, mass murders.” He noted that many bodies had been extensively burned or disfigured, and that there were also “repeated patterns of victims who were found partially or fully undressed and bound and shot.”

Patten stated that “some allegations” regarding sexual violence in Kibbutz Be’eri had been proven to be unfounded. This included a story about a woman’s fetus having been cut from her body while other allegations were not able to be verified.

She also said that interviews with both male and female Palestinian prisoners in the West Bank revealed “cruel and inhumane” treatment from Israeli security forces. This included “sexual violence, such as body searches and threats of rape.”

Israel has been slamming international women’s organizations for ignoring evidence that Hamas used sexual violence as a weapon during the attack on October 7, which resulted in the deaths of close to 1,200 civilians.

Katz told Israel’s diplomats that after the report was published, they should launch a public-relations offensive to pressure the UN into declaring Hamas as a terrorist group and convene the Security Council immediately to discuss the findings.

Katz instructed the envoys in a letter to promote the report’s message in interviews, social media and meetings with decision makers. He asked that every mission submit a report on their efforts to promote these messages by the 14th of March.

Katz said that the diplomats must push the idea that the “weak response by the UN signals to Hamas” that the terrorist organization will not be sanctioned for its acts.

Erdan lambasted international bodies for their slow response to the events that occurred in Gaza and communities adjacent on October 7.

In the run-up to publication of the report, the foreign minister summoned Erdan to Israel to discuss the issues. He claimed that the UN had been trying to muzzle the findings. Both diplomats have clashed repeatedly with the UN, accusing them of minimising the atrocities on October 7, and of not taking serious action in response to Israeli allegations of collaboration between UNRWA and Hamas.