Sun 03 Mar 2024 3:28 pm - Jerusalem Time

UN rapporteur: Gaza women live a real hell and we receive “horrific” testimonies

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Reem Al-Salem, said that women in Gaza are subjected to “inhuman and degrading” treatment, expressing her “deep” concern about this.

Al-Salem spoke about the difficulties faced by women and girls in the Gaza Strip and the violence they are exposed to, in addition to the intense attacks and siege imposed by Israel on the Strip, stressing that many field workers “do not find the appropriate words to describe what the Palestinians are facing in Gaza, and the level of field pain and terror that they face.” It is indescribable," and described Gaza as "a true hell."

The UN official also confirmed that the Israeli attacks targeted women and children, as “more than 30,000 Palestinians were killed, 70% of whom were women and children, and it is unacceptable to allow this genocide against Palestinian women and children to continue. They are subjected to war crimes, because they are Palestinians, and because they are women.” "Palestinian women."

After 149 days of the devastating Israeli war on the Gaza Strip, more than 30,000 killed and more than 71,000 were injured, most of them children and women, as of yesterday, Saturday, in addition to an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe and massive destruction of infrastructure, according to Palestinian sources.

Women victims

The UN rapporteur stated that thousands of women were affected by what is happening in Gaza, explaining that in Gaza they lose their husbands, and “every hour a mother is killed, and countless children become orphans. Intentionally, people in Gaza are suffering from hunger, and humanitarian aid cannot reach them.” Where it should be."

She added, "Pregnant women are forced to terminate their pregnancies under bombardment and a lack of health services. There are women who are forced to give birth without receiving anesthesia or real support, in an environment in which a large part of the medical sector is destroyed."

Al-Salem criticized the hate speech used by Israeli citizens and officials against women, in order to "legitimize the killing of Palestinian women."

Documented reports

Al-Salem referred to a joint report published last week signed by a number of United Nations rapporteurs, indicating that they touched on the suffering of Palestinian civilians, especially women and children.

She explained that they were able to access reliable reports of direct extrajudicial executions of Palestinian women and their children, as well as arbitrary arrest, disappearance, and transfer to places of detention in the West Bank and Israel.

The UN rapporteur noted that health care workers, human rights defenders and children were also transferred to Israeli detention centers.

She stated, "We learned that a child was transferred to Israel, and as you know, this is a war crime, and an act that can be considered an act of genocide within the scope of the Genocide Convention."

Detention and torture of women

Al-Salem indicated that there are about 200 women and girls out of 3,000 Palestinians detained in Gaza between October 7 and December 31 of last year, in addition to 147 women and 245 children out of 3,700 Palestinians detained in the West Bank.

She said, "In the report, we expressed our deep concern about the inhuman and degrading treatment to which Palestinian women and girls are subjected. (These people) face ill-treatment, such as beatings, bullying, denial of medical assistance, inability to obtain adequate health care and food, and being prevented from seeing lawyers."

Israel continues its violations in several governorates in the West Bank, where incursions since the start of the war have resulted in the killing of 419 Palestinians and the injury of about 4,650 others, and the number of arrests has risen to 7,335.

Threats of sexual assault

The UN rapporteur stated that women in Gaza also face “threats of sexual assault and rape,” speaking of “horrifying” reports of “Palestinian women being stripped of their clothes and photographed in humiliating positions, especially during interrogation.”

She added, "There are women in Gaza who were stripped of their hijab after being arrested and searched by male police officers. They were photographed and Israeli soldiers exchanged their photos among themselves and on the Internet, in violation of the laws of war."

A few days ago, the United Nations Population Fund expressed its feeling of “dismay” at reports that “Palestinian women and girls in Gaza were beaten, arrested, humiliated, raped, or executed by Israeli officers,” stressing that “women and girls are not targets.”

"Unencouraging" future

The UN rapporteur said, “A ceasefire must be reached, humanitarian aid must be allowed to arrive immediately, Israeli hostages (in Gaza) and arbitrarily detained Palestinians must be released, the fate of missing persons must be clarified, and return people who were forcibly transferred (to the West Bank or Israel).”

She reported that there was contact with some victims, but she could not provide many details about that “due to concerns about the safety of some victims” from whom she received information or the organizations working with them.

She concluded her speech by saying, "If the underlying causes of the attacks that began after October 7 are not resolved, the future of Palestine and Israel, as well as the region in general, is not encouraging."

Since October 7, 2023, Israel has been waging a devastating war on the Gaza Strip, leaving tens of thousands of victims, most of them children and women, which led to Israel being brought before the International Court of Justice on charges of committing “genocide.”


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UN rapporteur: Gaza women live a real hell and we receive “horrific” testimonies