Israeli general says US official accused army of sexually abusing Palestinian women

US State Department official reportedly cites UN evidence of sexual abuse shared with Israeli government

MEE staff

A Palestinian woman mourns over the body of a family member killed by Israeli strikes on the makeshift Al-Mawasi camp for displaced people west of Khan Yunis on 10 March 2024 (AFP)

An Israeli general said that a US official accused the army of systematically sexually abusing Palestinian women during a private meeting, Israeli media reported on Sunday. 

In an interview with 103FM radio station, General Amir Avivi said he was shocked when the allegation was made by the “holder of the Israeli-Palestinian portfolio” at the US State Department, according to the Jerusalem Post

“We sat there, talked about the situation and suddenly she accused Israel of systematically sexually abusing Palestinian women,” Avivi said. 

The US official allegedly said in the meeting that the UN had presented evidence to the Israeli government, which Avivi said was “absolutely disconnected from reality”. 

“Does it make sense that this phenomenon would exist and the media would never have reported on it?” Avivi said he told the US official. 

In February, UN experts said they received reports of Palestinian female detainees being subjected to “multiple forms of sexual assault” in Israeli detention since 7 October. 

At least two detainees were reportedly raped while others were allegedly threatened with rape and sexual violence

The experts added that hundreds of Palestinian women and girls have been arbitrarily detained since the war started. 

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They were subjected to “inhumane and degrading treatment,” including sexual assault, beatings, and the denial of food, medicine and period products.

Palestinian women detained by Israeli forces in Gaza and later released recalled such abuses to the media. 

A Palestinian mother of three told Middle East Eye she was strip-searched multiple times while she was in detention. 

“At every point during my detention, whenever we were transferred between locations, we were strip-searched,” she said. 

“The officers would stick their hands in my chest and inside my trousers. They hit and kicked us and if we made any move or sound, they screamed at us to shut up.”

At one point, a group of Palestinian female detainees were stripped naked and put together in one room, she said. 

“I saw a group of Palestinian women naked. The female soldiers were kicking me and asking me to undress. I refused but she kept kicking and hitting me. The soldiers kept going in and out of the room, while we were undressed,” she told MEE. 

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