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Mar 14, 2024

If You Care About Peace, Call Hamas What It Is: Israeli Foreign Minister

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Israel Katz

On Oct. 7, 2023 the Hamas terror group invaded Israel and carried out the deadliest massacre of Jewish people since the Holocaust. They murdered, raped, maimed, tortured thousands of Israelis and foreign nationals, and dragged hundreds of hostages off to Gaza for use as human shields and bargaining chips.

In the five months since that darkest day, the United Nations has convened a total of 41 sessions. And they censured Hamas… zero times.

The hypocrisy is astounding. The preeminent world-governing body somehow found time to discuss issues such as solar panel acquisition and ecological diversity, and even held some moments of “silent prayer or meditation” to boot. But they could not bring themselves to condemn the most depraved crimes against humanity witnessed in our century.

In fact, they refused to even consider it. This week, I addressed the United Nations Security Council alongside relatives of civilian hostages still unconscionably being held by Hamas. I implored the forum to do more to make their families whole again, and to begin the process of accountability for the Hamas monsters who have vowed to carry out the genocidal crimes of Oct. 7 “again and again and again.”

But the UN was loath to give our group that platform, and it took the joint efforts of the United States, the United Kingdom, and France who summoned an emergency session of the council, and of Japan who chaired it, to call for such a meeting. Without their pressure, the UN would have been happy going longer still pretending Hamas and its evil didn’t exist.

This emergency session was requested following an exhaustive fact-finding mission by UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict Pramila Patten. Her resulting report laid out in great detail Hamas’s sexual crimes both against women and girls on Oct. 7, and against female hostages in Gaza for the past five months. It outlined the terror group’s systematic rape, gang rape, genital mutilation, necrophilia, sexualized torture, humiliation and inhuman treatment, built on 36 interviews, reviews of 5,000 photos and 50 hours of video.

Naturally, we welcome the UN’s first explicit acknowledgement of Hamas’s sexual atrocities, even if it is months too late. But at present, the UN seems interested in burying the report and failing to act upon it. This is unacceptable. Now that Hamas’s barbarism is out in the open, even by the UN’s own standards, the world body must officially condemn the group, particularly its sexual crimes. They must designate it the terror organization it obviously is, and impose upon it the harshest of sanctions. Anything less would be an unconscionable dereliction of duty toward the victims still being held hostage by Hamas in unimaginable conditions.

This is also the only language terrorists can understand. Moral nations and organizations, including the U.S., the EU, the UK, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, and others have already designated Hamas a terrorist group. And it is the best shot we have at saving future Israeli and Palestinian lives from the death cult that is Hamas, which not only butchered Israeli families with impunity, but gladly sacrifices its own population as human shields for a few sympathetic likes on Instagram.

Indeed, Oct. 7 made it clearer than ever that Israel’s war is only with Hamas, not Palestinians or Muslims. Israel’s Muslim and Christian populations have long served in the IDF, and have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with their Jewish brothers and sisters in the campaign to secure Israel against the Hamas threat. The kinship and patriotism felt by those communities has skyrocketed since Oct. 7, something with which Israelis are unfortunately quite familiar in the wake of tragedy.

In contrast, it has become obvious that Hamas is willing to sabotage absolutely anyone—including Palestinians and Muslims—to pursue its twisted aims. The hostages they took include a 9-month-old baby, Kfir Bibas, his older brother Ariel and his parents Shiri and Yarden. They also include Hamza and Yousef Zyadna, Mohammad Alatrash and Farhan Al Qadi, all of whom are Muslim. Their fundamentalist war machine doesn’t care now, and it never did. They never wanted peace, and they never actually stood for the betterment of the Muslim world or anyone in it.

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which started this week, should naturally be a time of peace, togetherness and reflection. Israel wants this dearly; never mind that Hamas started this horrible war with a surprise attack on the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah. If the UN truly cares about the well-being of Israelis, Palestinians, Jews, and Muslims, it must designate Hamas a terror group, call for the immediate and unconditional release of all their hostages and stand with Israel and its allies in our campaign to rid our region of this vicious, deadly threat.

This is the UN’s moment to stare down the immense anti-Israel, anti-Jewish pressure campaigns and live up to its founding principles. If it fails, it risks plunging yet further into impotence and irrelevance. The choice lies with every single UN member state and will be judged by the all-seeing eye of history.

(Israel Katz is currently serving as Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Government of the State of Israel. Katz is an Israeli politician and member of the Knesset for Likud Party. This article published in the Newsweek Magazine has been reprinted as it is (without edit) with courtesy credit to the Embassy of Israel in Kathmandu for the publication. The opinion expressed in the article is of the writer.)