Kenneth Mokgatlhe

UN finds Hamas’ guilty of sexual assaults

The United Nations (UN) has now vindicated allegations that the terror group Hamas carried out sexual assaults on 7 October 2023 when they invaded Israel. The investigations by the UN team which investigated the sexual assault claims further concluded that the sexual violence is likely ongoing against the more than 130 hostages held in Hamas’ tunnels.

It is not surprising to note the silence from Israel’s chief critic, South Africa, since this scathing report was tabled on Monday. South Africa’s foreign policy towards Israel has been marred by unjustifiable hostility which have caused tensions between the two countries. They have branded themselves as defenders and voices of Hamas as the two become increasingly cosier.

It is heartbreaking to confront the horror that women went through as documented by the UN team. Evidence was found indicating that rape and gang rape occurred in at least three locations in Southern Israel on 7 October. Women were found naked or partially naked at the horrific scenes revealing the gross sexual violence against them before they were killed.

The UN investigators did not speak directly to surviving victims. That is understandable since they are not in a space to talk about the horrendous events they went through and are focusing on therapeutic counseling to deal with the trauma which might stay with them for a lifetime. The use of photographic evidence, videos, interviews with governmental officials, and visiting the scenes helped them to draw their conclusions. It is sad that the whole truth may never be known. The victims are either dead or it might take years for those who are alive to fully share their traumatic experiences.

South Africa’s recent positions towards Israel have polarized the country. There are those who believe that South Africa should use its experience to reconcile the warring sides while others, the radicals, believe that Israel should be wiped off the map. The ANC seems to be leaning towards everything Hamas stands for, which is to exterminate the State of Israel.

It is embarrassing for those who claim that the horrific attacks of 7 October were justifiable and fall within the context of a revolution to free the Palestinians. Is it truly possible to justify Hamas’ weaponization of rape against Israeli women? How is this going to help with the creation of a Palestinian state?

We have to be sensible as human beings and acknowledge the pain that Hamas has caused to the Israeli people and the dehumanization, particularly of women, by those who have no regard for the life of others, including the people they claim to lead or on whose behalf they claim to act.

Hamas is not only a thorn to Israelis; they are killing and carrying out similar atrocities against the Palestinians in Gaza. Many Palestinians continue to be killed by Hamas on the basis that they are suspected to be agents of the Israeli government. It is critical that Hamas be stopped to ensure there is no longer a human threat against both peoples.

It is not true to think that everyone in Israel and Palestine hates each other. South Africa’s governmental officials should know that there are Palestinians, Jordanians, and Israelis who are working together in various fields including business, academia, and politics. These wonderful people work together even during the time of war. The problem on the ground is Hamas, who want to prolong the conflict for their own political and financial ends.

The Palestinian struggle for independence is known and appreciated. The struggle of Israelis to keep their borders and people safe is known and appreciated too. Part of the solution for these two people is to create an environment where they are both able to embrace life together by co-existing in peace and good neighbourliness. They should both harmonize their lands so that no rocket or bullet will fly from the other one to another.

This brings this article to the solution, the creation of two independent states where both Israelis and Palestinians can live side by side. Hamas is not among those who could deliver this two-state solution because they have taken it upon themselves to bring about the extermination of the State of Israel. Naledi Pandor, South Africa’s foreign minister, should see and recognize Hamas for what it is. It does not help to deny her proximity to the terror group when they can call or visit each other in full public view. We have a moral obligation not to support the transgressors of humanity by giving the impression that we are on the right side of history when we know, or ought to know, that we are not.

About the Author
Independent reporter and columnist studying African Sustainable Communities (Master of Arts) at Ben Gurion University.
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