Israel on the ropes as disastrous UN performance falls flat

Americas Mid-East

General Assembly members applauded an impassioned and sometimes tearful address by Palestine at the UN on Monday, but Israel’s regurgitation of largely debunked ‘events’ on 7/10 as its justification for genocide was met with stony silence.

Five months into the biggest bombing campaign since Vietnam, in an enclave where 2.3 million people have been imprisoned by a 15-year land, sea and air siege, the world appears to have run out of patience with Israel.

A picture held up by the Palestinian representative of a wounded and emaciated child who had starved to death on Sunday in a barely functioning hospital was countered by Israel with a video that alleged a ‘terrorist’ may have sexually touched one of its citizens last year.

Representatives sat aghast at Israel’s breathtaking unprofessionalism as Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, struck out at them again and again.

As three-quarters of Gaza lays in ruins with its entire population displaced and dying of hunger, Erdan addressed the UN, saying:

“The moral bankruptcy displayed here is truly boundless. Entire communities in Israel mourn the loss of loved ones in ways that echo the horrors of the past, yet the General Assembly remains silent, failing even to condemn a pogrom… the UN’s silence on Hamas’s sexual violence turns this global initiative into a sick joke. The hypocrisy is evident – while Israeli women are being raped and abused by Hamas terrorists, the UN’s voice remains conspicuously absent.

“Testimonies of released hostages, first responders, and law enforcement officials paint a harrowing picture of rape, sexual abuse, and heinous crimes perpetrated by Hamas. The UN’s apathy and indifference are alarming… The UN’s silence and inaction suggest a collaboration with terrorists rather than standing in solidarity with the democratic values of Israel. The recent revelations regarding UNWRA’s involvement in the October 7th massacre further expose the UN’s complicity.”

Immediately following his address, the ambassador was recalled back to Israel from New York, for ‘consultations’.

Despite its feelings towards the UN, Israel had been counting on the organisation to vindicate its rationale for destroying Gaza by reporting that Hamas unequivocally metered out sexual violence on its citizens on 7/10 in a report released earlier today.

The UN investigation into the matter said it was ‘likely’ there was some sexual violence committed on 7/10 but does not say definitely that there was, or who it was carried out by… if it even happened.

21-year-old Israeli hostage released by Hamas from Gaza, Mia Schem

While Israeli hostages released from Gaza have appeared on TV to talk about their experiences, the UN investigation into alleged sexual violence by Hamas reported that despite “concerted efforts to encourage victims to come forward”, the UN team was unable to interview any of them.

Some allegations of rape and sexual violence were “unfounded”, the report explained, including the graphically publicised case of a pregnant woman whose womb was reportedly torn open and her foetus stabbed. Other reports could not be verified due to limited imagery.

The UN also said it had not been able to establish a discernible pattern of genital mutilation, as the Israeli ambassador referred to on Monday in his address to the UN.

The report also said there had been allegations of sexual violence against Palestinians in Israeli custody, including “unwanted touching of intimate areas” and “prolonged forced nudity” in detention settings, during house raids and at checkpoints after 7 October.

Israel has rejected similar allegations made previously by a panel of independent UN experts as “despicable and unfounded”.

Hamas has denied its gunmen sexually assaulted women during the attacks.

The UN investigation into alleged sexual violence by Hamas reported that despite “concerted efforts to encourage victims to come forward”, the UN team was unable to interview any of them

On December 28, the New York Times released its widely-publicised investigative report headlined ‘Screams Without Words’: How Hamas Weaponized Sexual Violence on Oct. 7.

The article dealt with allegations of widespread rape in a newspaper that has come to serve as a mouthpiece for Benjamin Netanyahu’s war cabinet.

Doubts emerged about the article over the biases of the reporters and the shaky nature of the evidence presented. Sources had a history of false claims. The family of one allegedly raped murder victim spoke out against the article, claiming it presented an impossible story.

An independent news site, The Intercept, says: “If sexual violence was used by Hamas as a weapon of war, the world deserves a careful documentation of this fact. Alas, the New York Times article does nothing but muddy the water.”

“If the Times wanted to serve its readers and the world, it would launch a transparent investigation into this botched article, the biggest failure of journalism at the newspaper since Judith Miller’s infamous and discredited articles on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.”

Videos of freed hostages have detailed how they were kept in Gaza by families and hospitals, where they received regular food and medical attention, before being released back to Israel.

Hostages described by Israel as civilians could be seen in those interviews wearing IDF dog tags and referred to all Palestinians as ‘terrorists’.

For all the talk in the UN by the Israeli representative who told Hamas to ‘stop raping their women’, not one of the freed hostages said they encountered any sexual misbehavior, let alone sexual assault.

On the Israeli TV channel Keshet 12 News, 21-year-old former hostage Mia Schem describes a little boy from her host family eating sweets in front of her and not giving her one… ‘It was pure evil’, she says, over a background of sinister music.

Meanwhile, children in Gaza are dying daily from Israel’s deliberate and state-sanctioned famine. In northern Gaza, an estimated 300,000 people are living with little food or clean water.

A senior UN aid official warned that at least 576,000 people across the Gaza Strip – one-quarter of the population – faced catastrophic levels of food insecurity and one in six children under the age of two in the north were suffering from acute malnutrition.