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UN committee accuses Israel of war crimes and ‘crimes against humanity’ over response to Oct 7 Hamas invasion

Israeli authorities reject report, citing 'systematic anti-Israeli discrimination'

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay speaks during a news conference at the United Nations in Geneva, July 16, 2014. (Photo: REUTERS/Pierre Albouy)

A United Nations inquiry, released on Wednesday, alleges that Israel committed war crimes in the early stages of its military response to the Hamas invasion of Oct. 7. The inquiry also states that the actions taken by the IDF constitute “crimes against humanity” due to “a widespread or systematic attack directed against the civilian population in Gaza.” 

The findings, published by the UN International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, were culled from two separate reports by “independent experts” with one focusing on Hamas’ assault on Israel during the Oct. 7 invasion, and the other focusing on Israel’s response. 

“In relation to Israel’s military operations in Gaza from 7 October, the Commission concludes that Israel has committed war crimes, crimes against humanity and violations of IHL and IHRL,” the report stated. 

By defining some of the war crimes as “crimes against humanity,” the UN report accuses Israel of one of the worst international crimes, usually reserved for crimes committed against a civilian population in a widespread and premeditated fashion. 

The commission also accused Israel of “sexual violence” and “gender discrimination” for its practice of forcing captured or surrendered men to strip down to their underwear. Israeli authorities said this was done to ensure the men were not carrying concealed weapons, however, they admit the photos and videos of those events should not have been released. 

“The commission found that the crimes against humanity of extermination; murder; gender persecution targeting Palestinian men and boys; forcible transfer; and torture and inhuman and cruel treatment were committed,” the report noted. 

The commission said that forcing the captured men and teenage boys to strip was “intended to inflict severe humiliation.” 

While the commission said it identified “a pattern of sexual violence” by Palestinian terror groups during the Oct. 7 attacks, it added that it was not able to “independently verify” allegations of rape, which it blamed on “obstruction of its investigations by the Israeli authorities.” 

This conclusion comes despite previous statements in the report confirming that UN investigators “collected and preserved digital evidence, including images of victims’ bodies displaying indications of sexual violence, a pattern corroborated by independent testimonies from witnesses.” The report also cited “reliable witness accounts” of undressed bodies, or exposed genitalia, and signs of “struggle or violence.” 

The report also ignored the investigation of UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict Pramila Patten, which found that rape likely occurred during the Hamas invasion on Oct. 7, and that evidence exists to show hostages had faced sexual violence in captivity. 

The Israeli government did not cooperate with the investigation, citing “systematic anti-Israeli discrimination.” 

The Israel Diplomatic Mission in Geneva slammed the report as biased against Israel, drawing attention to the decision to release the report on the Jewish holiday of Shavuot. 

The Israeli Foreign Ministry repudiated the report, calling it “another example of the cynical political theater called the UN.” 

“The report is full of false accusations and blood libels against IDF soldiers,” the ministry added.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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