United Nations ‘October 7 Hamas rape report’ debunked

Roshan Muhammed Salih says a United Nations report which concluded that there are “reasonable grounds” to believe that Hamas and other Palestinian fighters committed rapes on October 7 is a complete fraud that has only provided cover for Israel’s genocidal war.

On Tuesday morning we all woke up to headlines screaming that the UN had concluded that Hamas and its allies had committed rapes on October 7.

The mainstream media repeated this likely fabrication all day long, and pro-Israel commentators claimed that they had been vindicated after having made these allegations for the last four and a half months.

My initial reaction was disbelief because, whatever one may think of Hamas, it just makes no sense to me that religiously-observant Muslims would go on a rape rampage when committing such acts is clearly haraam.

But that said, I had to admit that the verdict of the United Nations is not the same thing as the verdict of the state of Israel so the report definitely added credibility to the rape claims.

Therefore, I had no choice but to read the 24 page report written by Pramila Patten, the UN’s special envoy on sexual violence in conflict, to verify the claims for myself. I also watched her press conference where she presented her findings to journalists.

And what I found was truly shocking – this so-called investigation was so sloppy that it deserves to be simply thrown into the dustbin of history.

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No forensic evidence, no digital evidence, completely one-sided and lacking rigour, the report is so limited in its methodology and scope that it should never have been released.

Pramila Patten’s press conference at the UN was also frankly an incoherent embarrassment and she was rightly and repeatedly questioned by the assembled journalists who could see right through her shoddiness.

And I intend to prove all this below by quoting directly from the report itself which undermines its credibility with its own words.

Believing the Israelis

Right at the beginning of the report, the investigators admit they adopted a “survivor/victim centred approach.”

In plain English, this means that they chose to believe the testimony of those they perceived to be victims/survivors.

So right from the get-go they are openly admitting that this was not a rigorous investigation which involved sceptically assessing testimony in an attempt to determine the facts. Rather, it was an exercise in gullibility.

Only Israeli view heard

The report only focusses on Israeli testimony about October 7 and no attempt is made to assess the point of view of Hamas or other Palestinian fighters involved in the attacks.

The mission team admits that the visit was carried out at the invitation of the Israeli regime.

It conducted 33 meetings with Israeli national institutions, including the Israeli Defence Forces, the Israeli Security Agency (Shin Bet), and the Israeli National Police in charge of the October 7 investigation.

Pramila Patten. Creator: UN Geneva. Credit: UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

It reviewed over 5,000 photos and around 50 hours of footage of the attacks provided by various state agencies, independent private sources and through an independent online review of various open sources.

The mission team also conducted interviews with 34 people, including with survivors and witnesses of the attacks, released hostages, first responders, health and service providers and others.

And it met with families and relatives of hostages still held in captivity as well as members of the community displaced from Kibbutz Nir Oz.

On the other hand, no Hamas representatives were interviewed. Fair? Decide for yourself.

No compelling forensic evidence of rape

The report admits that there is limited survivor and witness testimony and limited forensic evidence “due to the large number of casualties and dispersed crime scenes.”

It also says potentially valuable evidence was lost due to the interventions of some inadequately trained volunteer first responders, the prioritisation of rescue operations and the recovery, identification and burial of the deceased in accordance with religious practices.

Further, a significant number of the recovered bodies had suffered destructive burn damage, which made the identification of potential crimes of sexual violence impossible.

The mission team also said it had limited access to survivors/victims of sexual violence, and to survivors and witnesses of the October 7 attacks.

“While the mission team was able to meet with some released hostages as well as with some survivors and witnesses of the attacks, it did not meet with any survivor/victim of sexual violence from 7 October despite concerted efforts encouraging them to come forward…

“The absence of comprehensive forensic evidence limited the mission team’s ability to draw definitive forensic conclusions in many instances. This was compounded by evidence being spread among various agencies and limited organisation of the material, and the fact that the process of linking individuals with specific photos and videos is still ongoing. The inaccurate and unreliable forensic interpretations by some non-professionals also represented a challenge.”

No compelling digital evidence of rape

While the mission team says it reviewed extensive digital material “depicting a range of egregious violations,” no digital evidence specifically depicting acts of sexual violence was found in open sources.

Nonetheless, it claimed, some digital material of circumstantial elements such as naked or partially naked bodies may be indicative of some forms of sexual violence.

“While it is possible that digital evidence may have been posted and then removed from official channels and social media profiles, possibly due to concerns by the various groups that it may be incriminating, it is the view of the mission team that, had clear digital evidence of sexual violence or orders to commit sexual violence been circulated in the mainstream, it would have likely been discovered given the volume of the information posted online and further recirculated, making the removal of all trace of such material unlikely.”

What exactly did they find?

Bizarrely, despite not finding any compelling digital or forensic evidence, the mission team still concluded that “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 the various locations of the 7 October attacks, the mission 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. Although circumstantial, such a pattern of undressing and restraining of victims may be indicative of some forms of sexual violence.”

They also concluded that with respect to hostages, the mission team found clear and convincing information that some have been subjected to various forms of conflict-related sexual violence including rape and sexualised torture and sexualised cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and it also has reasonable grounds to believe that such violence may be ongoing.

The report concluded that the mission did not intend to, nor could it in such a short period of time (it investigated for two weeks), establish the prevalence of conflict-related sexual violence during and after the October 7 attacks.

“The overall magnitude, scope, and specific attribution of these violations would require a comprehensive investigation by competent bodies,” the report admitted.

Hamas response

Given that the mission team did not bother to interview the people they are accusing of rape, I think it is appropriate to post Hamas’s response here. Unsurprisingly, they rejected the report as baseless.

“We, in the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), reject and strongly condemn the report issued by UN official Pramila Patten, regarding the claim and allegations of Palestinian resistance fighters committing rape and sexual violence incidents during the events of October 7th.

“This came after failed Israeli attempts to prove this false charge, which was confirmed to have no basis in truth, except to demonise the Palestinian resistance, and to cover up the United Nations rapporteurs’ report about the existence of conclusive evidence of horrific human rights violations suffered by Palestinian women and girls by the Israeli occupation forces.

October 7 attacks

“Despite Ms. Patten’s claims and her false and baseless accusations against the Palestinian fighters, her report did not document any testimony of what she calls victims of those cases, but relied in her report on Israeli institutions, soldiers, and witnesses selected by the occupation authorities, to push towards trying to prove this false charge, which was refuted by all investigations and international reports.

“Ms. Patten’s claims are clearly contradicted by the testimonies of Israeli women about the good treatment by the fighters towards them, as well as the testimonies of the released Israeli female prisoners, and what they confirmed of the good treatment they received during their captivity in Gaza.

“This false accusation will not succeed in obscuring the ugliness and horror of the Israeli crimes committed in the Gaza Strip, which resulted in the killing of about 40,000 Palestinians, most of them women, children, and civilians, in a mass crime and ethnic cleansing, and a deliberate disregard for the resolutions of the International Court of Justice and other international reports, which documented parts of the crimes and atrocities committed in Gaza by the new Nazis.”


So at the end of the day all those headlines blaming Hamas and other Palestinian fighters of rape and sexual assault are ultimately based on a severe lack of evidence and a shoddy investigation that would not stand up in any court. And Pramilla Patten basically admitted this in her press conference.

The strongest evidence the report posits seems to be digital evidence of dead, naked (or half naked) women with their hands tied. But is this really proof of anything? Circumstantial proof at best. And why couldn’t the Israelis have tampered with the “crime scene” to make it look a certain way?

The UN team seems to have gone in with the attitude that anything “survivors and victims” say must be true and that the people they were blaming (Palestinian fighters) were not even worth the time of day.

But anybody with a brain or a conscience should not take at face value anything people loyal to Israel say. Don’t forget this is the country which stole the land from the Palestinians and then ethnically cleansed it. And then kept hold of it through war, occupation and oppression.

And Israel has attempted to erase that history by lying. And indeed they have been caught lying again and again since October 7. So why should we believe anything they say?

Rather, we should demand facts, facts and more facts. And lo and behold this report is sorely lacking in those.

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