UN Women on Friday issued its first condemnation of Hamas' brutality against women during the October 7 attack on Israel.
In its statement calling for "peace" and expressing "regret" at Israel's renewal of the fighting in Gaza, UN Women said, "We deeply regret that military operations have resumed in Gaza, and we reiterate that all women, Israeli women, Palestinian women, as all others, are entitled to a life lived in safety and free from violence."
"We unequivocally condemn the brutal attacks by Hamas on Israel on 7 October. We are alarmed by the numerous accounts of gender-based atrocities and sexual violence during those attacks. This is why we have called for all accounts of gender-based violence to be duly investigated and prosecuted, with the rights of the victim at the core.
"In all conflicts, UN women fully supports rigorous investigations and Commissions of Inquiry where they exist," the statement added.
"We also welcome that the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict Pramila Patten has activated the UN Action network, of which we are a member, to proactively share UN-sourced and verified information on incidents, patterns, and trends of conflict-related sexual violence to aid all investigations.
"We continue to call for accountability for all acts of gender-based violence committed on and after 7 October, the immediate and unconditional release of all remaining hostages, and a humanitarian ceasefire.
"For the sake of everyone in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel, and especially women and children, we call for a return to a path of peace, a respect for international humanitarian and international human rights law, and an end to the suffering of people in Gaza and in Israel, and those families still waiting for their loved ones to return," UN Women concluded.
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen (Likud) responded to the UN Women's statement, saying, "The conduct of UN Women, the UN Secretary-General, and other UN agencies since the October 7 massacre is disgraceful."
"UN Women's announcement was both feeble and late, coming after nearly two months of silence during which war crimes, crimes against humanity, and *gender-based crimes carried out by the Hamas terrorist organization were ignored.
"The proposal to cede investigating to the UN's Commission of Inquiry adds insult to injury, as the CoI is comprised of a clique of notorious antisemites. Any investigation must be conducted by a neutral and objective body and not by antisemitic Israel-haters.
"I call on the UN Women's Executive Director, who has failed to carry out her mission at this critical time, to resign."