Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, said on Thursday that Israel will not cooperate with a UN Commission of Inquiry’s probe of sexual crimes perpetrated by Hamas during its October 7 attack on Israel, citing the body’s anti-Israel bias.
The UN commission of inquiry, which is investigating war crimes on both sides of the Israel-Hamas conflict, announced on Wednesday that it will focus on sexual violence by Hamas and is about to launch an appeal for evidence.
The chair of the commission, Navi Pillay, said she would pass the evidence onto the International Criminal Court and called for it to consider prosecutions, reported Reuters.
"I'm now sitting as chair of a commission with the power to investigate this. So there's no way we will not do so," said Pillay, chair of the three-member commission of inquiry into abuses committed in Israel and Palestinian Authority (PA) territories.
In response, Erdan said on Thursday, “The antisemitic Commission of Inquiry, established by the morally distorted Human Rights Council which recently appointed Iran as Chair of the Council’s Social Forum, is 100% biased against Israel.”
“Therefore, Israel has zero trust in its findings and its illegitimate activities. Its ‘investigation’ into the terror organization’s sexual crimes against Israeli women on October 7 is akin to Yahya Sinwar, the head of Hamas in Gaza, investigating its crimes,” he added.
“The Commissioners’ pre-existing prejudice against Israel is abundantly clear: they have denied Israel's right to be a member of the UN, they have undermined the accepted working definition of antisemitism, and they support the boycott of Israel. Israel will not cooperate in any way with such a discriminatory and antisemitic body,” Erdan clarified.
Pillay, who was named as the head of the Commission of Inquiry in July of 2021, has a history of anti-Israel statements.
In 2014, she condemned Israel for "targeting" UN-run schools and hospitals in Gaza, while failing to mention three UN-run schools in Gaza had been used as rocket warehouses, a gross violation of international law that clearly falls within the category of war crimes.
Her announcement that the Commission would investigate Hamas’ crimes came weeks after the UN chose to ignore these crimes altogether.
On Wednesday, nearly two months after the October 7 attack, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres finally acknowledged that Hamas committed acts of sexual violence during the attack.
“There are numerous accounts of sexual violence during the abhorrent acts of terror by Hamas on 7 October that must be vigorously investigated and prosecuted,” Guterres wrote on X, adding, “Gender-based violence must be condemned. Anytime. Anywhere.”
Erdan said in response, “The Secretary-General's words only sharpen the fact that when it comes to Israeli women, sexual violence that has been proven by state authorities still needs to be ‘investigated.’ For him, when it comes to Israeli women, you can doubt the facts and wait 55 days to call an unknown party to conduct an ‘investigation.’ He does not acknowledge that Hamas committed these crimes!”