נאומה של מירב לשם גונןPermanent Mission of Israel

The United Nations Human Rights Council is holding a discussion today (Wednesday) on a report accusing both Israel and Hamas of war crimes.

Before the discussion, Meirav Leshem Gonen, the mother of 23-year-old Romi Gonen, told the council members that there is only one side they should be on, the side that opposes the kidnappers and rapists of Hamas.

Leshem Gonen emotionally described how she was forced to listen to her daughter's kidnapping over the phone.

"I'm the mother of Romi Gonen, a 23-year-old woman who was hunted by Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023," she said. "Trying to escape from [their] murderous hands, she was shot while driving in a car with three other young people. As the only survivor, she was brutally dragged by her long, beautiful hair from the car, along the road."

"I was a witness to this reality while speaking with her on the phone," she recounted. "Hearing her helplessness and frustration without being able to help my baby."

"That was 257 days ago. Romi and 19 other hostages are still being held incommunicado in the Gaza Strip to this day.

"I stand before you today not just as a mother, but also a voice for women who have endured unimaginable suffering, whose pain is not acknowledged. When women's bodies are used as political tools, when their dignity is set aside because they are not on the 'right side,' it is a badge of shame for us all," she said.

She accused the Human Rights Council of trivializing the rapes and sexual violence committed by Hamas and the others who carried out the massacre and held hostages by "reducing their suffering to mere 'parading of women as trophies."

“We owe all hostages still held by Hamas terrorists in Gaza to do all in our power to release them immediately,” she said. “I owe it to Romi, and so does the international community.”

"We should be on the same side, the side fighting hostage-taking, never accepting the use of young women as tools for trade," she declared.

"Please help me hug my daughter again,” she begged.