UN report is ‘clear’ Hamas sexually tortured women: Eylon Levy

  • Report: Hamas committed 'sexualized torture' during October 7 attacks
  • Israel says 134 hostages remain trapped in Gaza
  • 'Even the men are suffering sexual abuse,' spokesperson Eylon Levy said

(NewsNation) — The United Nations envoy focusing on sexual violence in conflict said in a new report Monday that there are “reasonable grounds” to believe Hamas committed rape, “sexualized torture” and other inhumane treatment of women during its surprise attack on Israel on Oct. 7. 

In a Monday interview on NewsNation’s “Elizabeth Vargas Reports,” Eylon Levy, a spokesman for the Israeli government, described the revelations as “horrific” and emphasized the urgent need for international intervention to secure the release of the hostages.

“What the U.N. said is clear and convincing,” he told Vargas.

Israel says that 134 hostages remain trapped in Gaza, held captive by Hamas militants. Levy cited survivor accounts detailing instances of sexual abuse, including the dressing up of victims as dolls by Hamas captors.

“We have one survivor who spoke of witnessing sexual abuse at gunpoint,” Levy stated. “It’s been 150 days that they are being starved and executed and tortured and raped and enslaved in the Hamas terror dungeons.”

There are also “reasonable grounds to believe that such violence may be ongoing,” said Pramila Patten, who visited Israel and the West Bank from Jan. 29 to Feb. 14 with a nine-member team. In the report, she said the team “found clear and convincing information” that some hostages have been subjected to the same forms of conflict-related sexual violence, including rape and “sexualized torture.”

The report comes nearly five months after the Oct. 7 attacks, which left about 1,200 people dead and some 250 others taken hostage. Israel’s war against Hamas has since laid waste to the Gaza Strip, killing more than 30,000 people, according to Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry. The U.N. says a quarter of Gaza’s 2.3 million people face starvation.

“Even the men are suffering sexual abuse,” Levy said.

Hamas has rejected earlier allegations that its fighters committed sexual assault.

Across various locations, Patten said, the team found “that several fully naked or partially naked bodies from the waist down were recovered – mostly women – with hands tied and shot multiple times, often in the head.”

The report also alleges instances of sexual violence against Palestinians by members of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and right-wing settlers.

“[We can investigate] credible, concrete information presented to Israeli authorities,” Levy asserted. “Unfortunately, one of the problems we find often from the U.N … is making unsubstantiated vague allegations.”

Meanwhile, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris met with the Israeli war cabinet’s Benny Gantz at the White House, signaling growing international pressure for a cease-fire in Gaza. Harris labeled the situation in Gaza a “humanitarian catastrophe” and advocated for immediate action to halt the violence.

However, concerns are mounting over dwindling support for Israel, both domestically and internationally. A recent Wall Street Journal poll revealed a decline in support for Israel among the American public, with growing criticism over its handling of the conflict.

In response to questions about waning support, Levy reiterated Israel’s focus on ending the violence and securing the release of hostages: “This war will end with the dismantling of Hamas and the release of the hostages.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Israel at War

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