As Israel and Hamas pause Gaza fighting, legal scholars grapple with question of genocide

Special Palestinian civilians made use of the temporary ceasefire that began on Friday to flee from northern Gaza, past hulking Israeli army tanks. (AFP)
Palestinian civilians made use of the temporary ceasefire that began on Friday to flee from northern Gaza, past hulking Israeli army tanks. (AFP)
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Updated 26 November 2023
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As Israel and Hamas pause Gaza fighting, legal scholars grapple with question of genocide

As Israel and Hamas pause Gaza fighting, legal scholars grapple with question of genocide
  • Some experts say there is even more evidence than before to hold Israel to account given the high Gaza civilian toll
  • Others say genocide has specific legal meaning, which means it is applies differently from its use in public discourse

LONDON: Since Oct. 7, Israel’s war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip has brought the inconsistencies of international law into sharp focus, with allegations of double standards and the contention of a two-tier system in global politics.

Central in this dispute is the claim that Israel’s seven-week bombardment of the Palestinian enclave, together with the crude comments made by several members of its governing establishment, form the basis of the world’s latest genocide.

During this period, more women and children have been reported killed in Gaza than the roughly 7,700 civilians documented as killed by US forces and their international allies in the entire first year of the 2003 Iraq invasion, according to Iraq Body Count, an independent British research group.

And in the battle to retake Mosul (2016-2017) from Daesh by Iraqi government forces with allied militias, an estimated total of 9,000 to 11,000 civilians died over a nine-month period, according to an Associated Press estimate.

Efforts to hold Israel guilty of genocide predate the latest conflagration. The National Lawyers Guild in 2014, the Russell Tribunal on Palestine also in 2014 and the Center for Constitutional Rights in 2016 described the siege of Gaza as a “slow-motion genocide.”

With the latest Israeli onslaught, a collective of over 800 international legal scholars have claimed that together with the pre-existing conditions there is even more evidence of genocide at play.




Palestinians fleeing to the southern Gaza Strip on Salah Al-Din Street in Bureij, Gaza Strip earlier this month. (AP)

“Israel’s current military offensive on the Gaza Strip since Oct. 7, 2023, is unprecedented in scale and severity, and consequently in its ramifications for the population of Gaza,” stated the letter “Public Statement: Scholars Warn of Potential Genocide” posted on Twail Review.

To prove intent, the letter cited comments made on Oct. 10 by two high-ranking officers within the Israeli military sector.

Addressing Gaza residents, Maj. Gen. Ghassan Alian, the Israeli army coordinator of government activities in the territories, said: “Human animals must be treated as such. There will be no electricity, no water, only destruction. You wanted hell, you will get hell.”

On the same day, Daniel Hagari, the spokesperson for the Israeli army, stated that “the emphasis is on damage and not on accuracy.”

Some also point to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statements that Israelis were united in their fight against Hamas, likening the group to an ancient tribe, the Amalek, which the Book of Samuel tells the Israelites to “attack … and totally destroy all that belongs to them.”

The list of public statements has only grown in the interim, with claims that the deputy speaker of the Israeli parliament called for the burning of Gaza on Nov. 17.

In a since-deleted tweet captured by other users of X, Nissim Vaturi, a far-right Likud Party member, said: “All of this preoccupation with whether or not there is internet in Gaza shows that we have learned nothing. We are too humane. Burn Gaza now no less!”

According to experts in genocide studies and international law, the issue is more nuanced, although this has not stopped a growing chorus joining calls to condemn Israel’s assault as a genocide.

The experts say the verdict is by no means unanimous and stress that the bar is “incredibly high” when it comes to proving genocide.




Smoke billows following an Israeli strike on the Palestinian territory amid ongoing battles between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)

Ernesto Verdeja, associate professor of peace studies and global politics at the University of Notre Dame, told Arab News that defining what was happening in Gaza as genocide was complicated for a litany of reasons.

“The term is used differently in different contexts, which leads to some confusion and, consequently, deep bitterness and anger when there are disagreements,” he told Arab News.

“In public discourse, genocide is used to signify a great evil committed against civilians. Thus, defenders of Israel accuse Hamas, and sometimes all Palestinians, of genocide, while Palestinians and their defenders accuse Israel of the same crime and call Zionism genocidal.”

But in international law, genocide has a specific meaning and this in turn means it is applied differently to its use in public discourse, according to Verdeja.

This definition, contained in the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, states genocide is “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.”

Acts include “killing members of the group, causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group, deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part, imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group, and/or forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

Verdeja said key to proving any claim is being able to show that the perpetrators were aiming for the “intentional destruction of a civilian group in whole or part.”

FASTFACTS

* Hamas released 24 hostages (13 Israelis, 11 foreigners) on Friday.

* Israel released 39 Palestinian prisoners as part of the same deal.

* Attacks by Hamas on Oct. 7 killed 1,200, with about 240 taken hostage.

* More than 14,500 Palestinians killed in Israel’s retaliatory campaign.

Ben Kiernan, director of the Cambodian Genocide Program, told Time magazine that Israel’s assault on Gaza “however indiscriminate … and despite the numerous civilian casualties” did not meet that “very high threshold” for the legal definition of genocide.

Concurring, David Simon, director of genocide studies at Yale University, said that Israel had been explicit in its desire to exterminate Hamas.

He also told Time that Israel had not been explicit in its intent to “destroy a religious, ethnic or racial group,” adding that while it may be possible to conclude Hamas or the Israel Defense Forces were guilty of acts of genocide, “it’s certainly not textbook.”

Amid the debate, the endeavors for justice are not abating, with three Palestinian human rights organizations attempting to bring Israel before the International Criminal Court.

Al-Haq, Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, represented by Emmanuel Daoud, attorney at the Paris Bar and the International Criminal Court, have filed a lawsuit with the ICC under claims of genocide.

The submission notes Israeli airstrikes, the siege, the forced displacement of Gaza’s population, the use of toxic gas, and the denial of necessities, such as food, water, fuel, and electricity.

Perhaps more important than the lawsuit filed, however, were the statements of Daoud, who also obtained an ICC arrest warrant against President Vladimir Putin after filing a lawsuit with the court against Russian leaders for their war crimes against Ukraine.




A Palestinian medic and civilians carry an injured man after an Israeli strike on Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip on November 23, 2023, amid continuing battles between IDF and Hamas. (AFP)

“Whether war crimes are committed in Ukraine or Palestine, the culprits should be held to account,” said Daoud, adding “there is no place for double standards in international justice.”

Echoing Daoud, M. Muhannad Ayyash, professor of sociology at Mount Royal University, drew stark comparisons between Western reactions to the killing of Israelis and reactions “or lack thereof” to the killing of Palestinians and its response to Russia’s war on Ukraine.

“We need to look at how Western governments have responded to the killing of Israeli civilians versus the killing of Palestinian civilians,” Ayyash wrote in The Conversation, an independent news website that publishes articles written by academics and researchers.

“For the Israeli state and victims, political, military, economic, cultural, and social institutions have fully mobilized to provide support. The same is entirely absent for the Palestinians. For the Palestinians, there are no evacuations.

“Aircraft carriers are not sent to provide military support. Mainstream political and cultural discourse does not humanize Palestinian life and mourn Palestinian death.”

That there is a perceived double standard is perhaps not surprising given that the genocide convention was negotiated and structured by powerful states in a way that many believe provided their leaders, contemporaneously and in the future, protection against charges of genocide.




As the Israel-Hamas war rages in Gaza, there’s a bitter battle for public opinion flaring in the US, with angry rallies and disruptive protests at prominent venues in several major cities. (AP)

Verdeja cautions that debate over genocide may be sucking oxygen from the more pressing issues, calling for sharper focus on pushing leaders to protect civilians and hold perpetrators accountable.

“In international law, there is no hierarchy between crimes against humanity, genocide, and war crimes. All are major violations of international law and so just because an actor is not committing genocide does not mean their actions are legal or otherwise justified,” he said.

“Unsurprisingly, it is easier to legally prove crimes against humanity and war crimes over genocide since the former do not require proving strict intentionality.”

Asked where he positioned himself in the debate, Verdeja said it is crucial to note genocide is not an event but rather a process that emerges over time as perpetrators find themselves in a position where their actions are insufficient to achieve their goals.

He is certain that both Hamas and Israel had committed crimes against humanity and war crimes but believes that Hamas, despite its leadership’s rhetoric, lacks the capacity for genocide.

As for Israel, he said it is “quite likely committing genocide.”


Turkiye detains 7 suspected of spying for Israel

Turkiye detains 7 suspected of spying for Israel
Updated 21 sec ago
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Turkiye detains 7 suspected of spying for Israel

Turkiye detains 7 suspected of spying for Israel
ISTANBUL: Turkiye on Tuesday said it had detained seven people, including a special detective, suspected of spying for Israel’s Mossad intelligence service.
The operation by Turkiye’s spy agency and Istanbul counter-terror police showed the suspects had passed on information to Mossad for money, the Anadolu state news agency reported.
The raids come after Turkish authorities rounded up 34 people in January suspected of planning abductions and spying for Mossad.
Istanbul prosecutors had then said 12 other suspects remained at large.
Relations between Turkiye and Israel imploded after the outbreak of the war in Gaza nearly five months ago.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has turned into one of the world’s harshest critics of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
He has compared Netanyahu to Adolf Hitler and asked Israel’s Western allies to drop their support for the “state terrorism” being conducted in Gaza.
After the January arrest, Erdogan said the Turkish operation “seriously disturbed” Israel.
“Wait a minute,” he said, referring to the Israeli authorities. “You will get to know Turkiye.”

Iran executed 834 people last year, highest since 2015: rights groups

Iran executed 834 people last year, highest since 2015: rights groups
Updated 05 March 2024
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Iran executed 834 people last year, highest since 2015: rights groups

Iran executed 834 people last year, highest since 2015: rights groups
  • The number of executions, which Iran has carried out by hanging in recent years, was up some 43 percent on 2022

PARIS: Iran executed a “staggering” total of at least 834 people last year, the highest number since 2015 as capital punishment surged in the Islamic republic, two rights groups said Tuesday.
The number of executions, which Iran has carried out by hanging in recent years, was up some 43 percent on 2022.
It marked only the second time in two decades that over 800 executions were recorded in a year, after 972 executions in 2015, Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) and Paris-based Together Against the Death Penalty said in the joint report.
The groups accused Iran of using the death penalty to spread fear throughout society in the wake of the protests sparked by the September 2022 death in police custody of Mahsa Amini that shook the authorities.
“Instilling societal fear is the regime’s only way to hold on to power, and the death penalty is its most important instrument,” said IHR director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam in the report, which described the figure of 834 as a “staggering total.”
Iran has executed nine men in cases linked to attacks on security forces during the 2022 protests — two in 2022, six in 2023 and one so far in 2024 — according to the rights groups.
But executions have been stepped up on other charges, notably in drug-related cases, which had until recent years seen a fall.
“Of particular concern is the dramatic escalation in the number of drug-related executions in 2023, which rose to 471 people, more than 18 times higher than the figures recorded in 2020,” said the report.
Members of ethnic minorities, notably the Sunni Baluch from the southeast of Iran, are “grossly overrepresented among those executed” on drug-related charges, it said.
At least 167 members of the Baluch minority were executed in total, accounting for 20 percent of the total executions in 2023, even though the minority accounts for only around five percent of Iran’s population.
ECPM director Raphael Chenuil-Hazan said the “lack of reaction” by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) was sending “the wrong signal to the Iranian authorities.”
Most hangings in Iran are carried out within the confines of prison but the report said that in 2023 the number of hangings carried out in public in Iran tripled from 2022, with seven people hanged in public spaces.
At least 22 women were executed, marking the highest number in the past decade, the report said.
Fifteen of them were hanged on murder charges and NGOs have long warned that women who kill an abusive partner or relative risk being hanged.
In 2023, only 15 percent of the recorded executions were announced by official Iranian media, with IHR confirming the other executions with its own sources.
Amiry-Moghaddam expressed concern that a lack of international outrage at the executions, in particular with attention focused on the Gaza war between Israel and Hamas, was only encouraging the Islamic republic to carry out more hangings.
“The inconsistency in the international community’s reaction to the executions in Iran is unfortunate and sends the wrong signal to the authorities,” he said.


Ships entering Yemeni waters must obtain permit, Houthi minister says

Ships entering Yemeni waters must obtain permit, Houthi minister says
Updated 05 March 2024
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Ships entering Yemeni waters must obtain permit, Houthi minister says

Ships entering Yemeni waters must obtain permit, Houthi minister says
  • Houthi militants have repeatedly launched drones, missiles against international commercial shipping in Gulf of Aden since mid-November
  • The near-daily attacks have forced firms into long and costly diversions around southern Africa, stoked fears Israel's war can destabilize Middle East

CAIRO: Ships will have to obtain a permit from Yemen’s Houthi-controlled Maritime Affairs Authority before entering Yemeni waters, Houthi Telecommunications Minister Misfer Al-Numair said on Monday.
Houthi militants have repeatedly launched drones and missiles against international commercial shipping in the Gulf of Aden since mid-November, saying they are acting in solidarity with Palestinians against Israel’s offensive in Gaza.
The near-daily attacks have forced firms into long and costly diversions around southern Africa, and stoked fears that the Israel-Hamas war could destabilize the wider Middle East. The United States and Britain have bombed Houthi targets in response.
“(We) are ready to assist requests for permits and identify ships with the Yemeni Navy, and we confirm this is out of concern for their safety,” Al Masirah TV, the main television news outlet run by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement, reported Al-Numair as saying.
The territorial waters affected by the Yemeni order extend halfway out into the 20-km (12-mile) wide Bab Al-Mandab Strait, the narrow mouth of the Red Sea through which around 15 percent of the world’s shipping traffic passes on its way to or from the Suez Canal.
In normal times, more than a quarter of global container cargo — including apparel, appliances, auto parts, chemicals and agricultural products like coffee — move via the Suez Canal.
Former US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said there “is good reason to doubt” that the Iran-allied Houthis would stop their assaults on vessels if a ceasefire ends Israel’s major military operations in Gaza.
“They may decide that they like the idea of controlling the amount of shipping going through the Red Sea, and will continue this for an indefinite period of time,” Gates said at the TPM24 container shipping conference in Long Beach, California.
Elsewhere on Monday, Hong Kong-based HGC Global Communications said that at least four underwater communications cables — Asia-Africa-Europe 1, the Europe India Gateway, Seacom and TGN-Gulf — had been damaged last week in the Red Sea, without stating the cause.
It estimated that the damage had affected 25 percent of the data traffic flowing under the Red Sea, and said in a statement that it had devised a plan to reroute traffic.
Al-Numair’s ministry on Saturday blamed US and British attacks for any damage to cables.
In the latest incident, the UK Maritime Trade Operations agency said on Monday it had received a report that a vessel had been damaged by two explosions, 91 nautical miles southeast of Aden, but there were no casualties and the vessel was proceeding to its next port of call.
Yemen has been mired in conflict since Houthis ousted the government from the capital Sanaa in late 2014. The Saudi Arabia-led military coalition intervened in 2015, aiming to restore the government.


Ships entering Yemeni waters must obtain permit, Houthi minister says

Ships entering Yemeni waters must obtain permit, Houthi minister says
Updated 05 March 2024
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Ships entering Yemeni waters must obtain permit, Houthi minister says

Ships entering Yemeni waters must obtain permit, Houthi minister says
  • Yemen’s Houthis hit container vessel in Gulf of Aden with missile, US CENTCOM says
  • 4 Red Sea communication cables cut as Houthis launch more attacks in the vital waterway

CAIRO: Ships will have to obtain a permit from Yemen’s Houthi-controlled Maritime Affairs Authority before entering Yemeni waters, Houthi Telecommunications Minister Misfer Al-Numair said on Monday.
Houthi militants have repeatedly launched drones and missiles against international commercial shipping in the Gulf of Aden since mid-November, saying they are acting in solidarity with Palestinians against Israel’s offensive in Gaza.

One of two anti-ship ballistic missiles fired by Yemen’s Houthis at the container vessel M/V MSC SKY II in the Gulf of Aden hit the ship and caused “damage,” the US Central Command (CENTCOM) said on Tuesday.
Initial reports indicated no injuries and the Liberian-flagged, Swiss-owned container vessel did not request assistance and continued on its way, CENTCOM said in a statement.
A military spokesperson for the Iran-aligned Houthis said on Monday that they targeted the vessel with “a number of suitable naval missiles.” Houthis are targeting Red Sea shipping lanes in support of Palestinians in the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.
The US military said that Houthis also launched an anti-ship ballistic missile from Yemen into the southern Red Sea, however, it impacted the water with no damage or injuries to commercial or US Navy ships.
CENTCOM forces conducted “self-defense” strikes against two anti-ship cruise missiles that presented “an imminent threat” to merchant vessels and US Navy ships in the region, the statement added.
The United States and Britain have launched strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen and redesignated the militia as a terrorist group.
Houthis’ Red Sea attacks have disrupted global shipping, forcing firms to re-route to longer and more expensive journeys around southern Africa, and stoked fears that the Israel-Hamas war could spread to destabilize the wider Middle East.
“(We) are ready to assist requests for permits and identify ships with the Yemeni Navy, and we confirm this is out of concern for their safety,” Al Masirah TV, the main television news outlet run by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement, reported Al-Numair as saying.
The territorial waters affected by the Yemeni order extend halfway out into the 20-km (12-mile) wide Bab Al-Mandab Strait, the narrow mouth of the Red Sea through which around 15 percent of the world’s shipping traffic passes on its way to or from the Suez Canal.
In normal times, more than a quarter of global container cargo — including apparel, appliances, auto parts, chemicals and agricultural products like coffee — move via the Suez Canal.
Former US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said there “is good reason to doubt” that the Iran-allied Houthis would stop their assaults on vessels if a ceasefire ends Israel’s major military operations in Gaza.
“They may decide that they like the idea of controlling the amount of shipping going through the Red Sea, and will continue this for an indefinite period of time,” Gates said at the TPM24 container shipping conference in Long Beach, California.

Red Sea cables cut
Elsewhere on Monday, Hong Kong-based HGC Global Communications said that at least four underwater communications cables — Asia-Africa-Europe 1, the Europe India Gateway, Seacom and TGN-Gulf — had been damaged last week in the Red Sea, without stating the cause.
It estimated that the damage had affected 25 percent of the data traffic flowing under the Red Sea, and said in a statement that it had devised a plan to reroute traffic.
Al-Numair’s ministry on Saturday blamed US and British attacks for any damage to cables.
In the latest incident, the UK Maritime Trade Operations agency said on Monday it had received a report that a vessel had been damaged by two explosions, 91 nautical miles southeast of Aden, but there were no casualties and the vessel was proceeding to its next port of call.
Yemen has been mired in conflict since Houthis ousted the government from the capital Sanaa in late 2014. The Saudi Arabia-led military coalition intervened in 2015, aiming to restore the government.


UN envoy says ‘reasonable grounds’ to believe Hamas committed sexual violence on Oct. 7

UN envoy says ‘reasonable grounds’ to believe Hamas committed sexual violence on Oct. 7
Updated 05 March 2024
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UN envoy says ‘reasonable grounds’ to believe Hamas committed sexual violence on Oct. 7

UN envoy says ‘reasonable grounds’ to believe Hamas committed sexual violence on Oct. 7

UNITED NATIONS: The UN 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 cruel and inhumane treatment of women during its surprise attack in southern Israel on Oct. 7.
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 technical team.
Based on first-hand accounts of released hostages, she said the team “found clear and convincing information” that some women and children during their captivity were subjected to the same 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 Health Ministry. The UN says a quarter of Gaza’s 2.3 million people face starvation.
Hamas has rejected earlier allegations that its fighters committed sexual assault.
Patten stressed at a press conference launching the report that the team’s visit was not to investigate allegations of sexual violence but to gather, analyze and verify information for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ annual report on sexual violence in conflict and for the UN Security Council.
Her key recommendation is to encourage Israel to grant access to the UN human rights chief and the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Palestinian territories and Israel “to carry out full-fledged investigations into the alleged violations” — and she expressed hope the Security Council would do this.
Patten said the team was not able to meet with any victims of sexual violence “despite concerted efforts to encourage them to come forward.” While the number of victims remains unknown, she said, “a small number of those who are undergoing treatment are reportedly experiencing severe mental distress and trauma.”
However, team members held 33 meetings with Israeli institutions and conducted interviews with 34 people including survivors and witnesses of the Oct. 7 attacks, released hostages, health providers and others.
Based on the information it gathered, Patten said, “there are reasonable grounds to believe that conflict-related sexual violence occurred during the 7 October attacks in multiple locations across Gaza periphery, including rape and gang rape, in at least three locations.”
Across various locations, she 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.”
While this is circumstantial, she said the pattern of undressing and restraining victims “may be indicative of some forms of sexual violence.”
At the Nova music festival and its surroundings, Patten said, “there are reasonable grounds to believe that multiple incidents of sexual violence took place with victims being subjected to rape and/or gang rape and then killed or killed while being raped.”
“There are further accounts of individuals who witnessed at least two incidents of rape of corpses of women,” Patten said. “Other credible sources at the Nova music festival site described seeing multiple murdered individuals, mostly women, whose bodies were found naked from the waist down, some totally naked,” some shot in the head, some tied to trees or poles with their hands bound.
On Road 232 — the road to leave the festival — “credible information based on witness accounts describe an incident of the rape of two women by armed elements,” Patten said. Other reported rapes and gang rapes couldn’t be verified and require investigation.
“Along this road, several bodies were found with genital injuries, along with injuries to other body parts,” she said. “Discernible patterns of genital mutilation could not be verified at this time but warrant future investigation.”
She said “the mission team also found a pattern of bound naked or partially naked bodies from the waist down, in some cases tied to structures including trees and poles, along Road 232.”
People fleeing the Nova music festival also attempted to escape south and sought shelter in and around kibbutz Reim where Patten said there are “reasonable grounds” to believe sexual violence occurred.
The mission team verified the rape of a woman outside a bomb shelter and heard of other allegations of rape that could not yet be verified.
At Kibbutz Be’eri, Patten said, her team “was able to determine that at least two allegations of sexual violence widely repeated in the media, were unfounded due to either new superseding information or inconsistency in the facts gathered.”
These included a highly publicized allegation that a pregnant woman’s womb was reportedly ripped open before being killed with her fetus stabbed inside her, Patten said.
Another was “the interpretation initially made of the body of a girl found separated from the rest of her family, naked from the waist down,” she said. “It was determined by the mission team that the crime scene had been altered by a bomb squad and the bodies moved, explaining the separation of the body of the girl from the rest of her family.”
Patten said further investigation is needed of allegations, including of bodies found naked and in one case gagged, at kibbutz Be’eri to determine if sexual violence occurred.
At Kibbutz Kfar Aza, Patten said, verification of sexual violence was not possible. But she said “available circumstantial information – notably the recurring pattern of female victims found undressed, bound, and shot – indicates that sexual violence, including potential sexualized torture, or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, may have occurred.”
On Oct. 7, the Nahal Oz Military Base, which operated as a hub for signals intelligence and monitoring of the Gaza perimeter fence, was also breached by Hamas and “a significant number” of male and female soldiers stationed there were killed, and seven young female soldiers were abducted and taken to Gaza, Patten said.
Patten stressed that “the true prevalence of sexual violence during the Oct. 7 attacks and their aftermath may take months or years to emerge and may never be fully known.”