State Dept: Hamas Blocks Release Of Female Hostages To Conceal Captivity Horrors

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

OAN’s Brooke Mallory
12:35 PM – Tuesday, December 5, 2023

According to the State Department, United States officials believe that one of the reasons Hamas is holding on to its surviving female hostages is to keep them from disclosing atrocities they experienced while being held captive.


Israeli sources estimate that Hamas still holds at least 18 women in prison, and the majority of them were abducted at the Nova music festival on October 7th, close to the Gaza border, according to Axios.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller says that the cease-fire on Friday fell apart since Hamas refused to release the female hostages at the last minute.

“It seems that one of the reasons they don’t want to turn women over that they’ve been holding hostage—and the reason this pause fell apart—is that they don’t want these women to be able to talk about what happened to them during their time in custody,” Miller said during a Monday press briefing.

The declaration is made in the midst of increased hostilities over Hamas’s horrific treatment of women both before and after their massacre on October 7th. Israel has demanded action from the U.N. after compiling several reports of rape and sexual abuse.

Israeli officials sought to bring attention to the sexual abuse against women during a conference at the U.N. in Geneva last week. They also encouraged the international body, which frequently denounces human rights violations and global injustices, to speak out about the problem.

“Among the war crimes and the crimes against humanity that Hamas committed on Oct. 7 were also sexual crimes, sexual assaults, [and] rapes, that were part, that were a systematic part of their attack, of the massacre, and we are expecting a strong condemnation,” said Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, an associate professor at Bar-Ilan University who spoke at the event. “We expected recognition of that. We expected a clear and loud statement that says that there is no justification for using the bodies of women as a weapon of war. None of this came up until now.”

On December 1st, which is almost two months after the October 7th attack, the official “UN Women” X (Twitter) account was also heavily criticized for denouncing the conflict so late in the game.

Additionally, similar criticism was directed at Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) last week after she took part in a CNN interview. She was questioned about progressive women’s organizations’ lack of response to Hamas’ use of rape as a weapon of war.

Although she asserted that she did denounce Hamas’ abuse of women explicitly, Jayapal, the leader of the left-leaning Congressional Progressive Caucus, contended that “we have to be balanced about bringing in the outrages against Palestinians.”

Israel says that there are still about 137 captives in Gaza, however, U.S. officials have cautioned on many occasions that it is impossible to determine how many of those captives are still alive.

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