December 12, 2023 | Flash Brief

Slow International Response to Hamas’s Sexual Violence Chastised by Blinken

December 12, 2023 | Flash Brief

Slow International Response to Hamas’s Sexual Violence Chastised by Blinken

Latest Developments

Secretary of State Antony Blinken chastised the international community on December 10 for its lengthy silence regarding the extreme sexual violence Hamas perpetrated on October 7. In an interview with CNN, Blinken said that Hamas’s violence against Israeli women was “beyond anything that I’ve seen” and questioned “why countries, leaders, international organizations were so slow to focus on this.”

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres first acknowledged reports of sexual violence on November 29, seven weeks after Hamas massacred more than 1,200 victims in Israel. “There are numerous accounts of sexual violence during the abhorrent acts of terror by Hamas on 7 October that must be vigorously investigated and prosecuted,” Guterres wrote on X. UN Women, an agency tasked with promoting women’s rights, waited until December 1 to call out Hamas’s “gender-based atrocities and sexual violence.”

Expert Analysis

“The terrorists not only left physical evidence of rape and sexual mutilation, but there were eyewitnesses, the acts were filmed, and the terrorists confessed to receiving orders to inflict sexual violence upon Israeli women and girls. It is staggering that in the face of all the evidence, the UN dragged its feet for weeks before acknowledging the horrors that Israeli women and girls faced on October 7,2023.” — Enia Krivine, Senior Director of FDD’s Israel Program and National Security Network

“The Biden administration has been reticent to challenge the UN at a time when the U.S.-led world order is under serious strain. But that is no longer an option. The UN has failed half of humanity. And if it was not clear that the UN was anti-Israel and antisemitic, the past two months of ignoring the rape and abuse of Jewish Israeli women has been clarifying. At this point, what is not clear is how to rebuild trust. The existing structures are so rotten, it’s hard to see a way forward.” — Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research

“We can never unsee or unhear the voices of the Hamas terrorists who boasted about the atrocities they carried out on Oct 7. When women’s organizations and even the United Nations look the other way, deny Hamas’s brutality, or grasp for ways to justify the terrorist organization’s use of sexual violence in the name of resistance, they deny the region the chance to achieve the peace and stability it desperately needs. Those who care about the region’s future will shed their slogans and ensure Iran-backed Hamas does not inflict such savagery again — on anyone in the region.” — Toby Dershowitz, Managing Director of FDD Action

Evidence of Sexual Violence

Evidence of sexual violence continues to mount as Israeli authorities investigate Hamas’s atrocities. Eyewitness accounts, first responder testimony, and physical evidence collected from victims’ bodies paint a gruesome picture of the gender-based violence Hamas carried out on October 7. Hamas denies that its members committed sexual crimes, but captured terrorists have admitted to rape during interrogations with Israeli authorities.

Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, stressed on December 4 that Hamas terrorists did not make “spur-of-the-moment decisions to defile and mutilate Israeli women and girls.” “This was premeditated. This was planned. This was instructed,” he said.

Israel Convenes United Nations Session

On December 4, Israel convened a UN session in New York to shed light on Hamas’s sexual crimes. An Israeli reservist testified that Hamas undertook “a systemic genital mutilation of a group of victims,” while Yael Reichert, an Israeli police superintendent, reported that a survivor had witnessed “an apocalypse of corpses, girls without any clothes on, without tops, without underwear.”

Former Chief Operating Officer of Facebook Sheryl Sandberg and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand also spoke at the UN session. “If we can’t agree that rape is wrong,” Sandberg said, “then we have accepted the unacceptable.” Senator Gillibrand said she “nearly choked” when she saw how many women’s rights organizations chose to stay silent. She also called on the UN to “denounce Hamas as a terrorist organization that uses rape as a weapon of war.”

The unmaking of the United Nations,” by Clifford D. May

U.S. Blocks UN Ceasefire Resolution,” FDD Flash Brief

10 Things to Know About the UN and Hamas,” FDD Insight


International Organizations Israel Israel at War