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United Nations experts have urged for a thorough investigation into what they deem as “credible allegations of egregious human rights violations” against Palestinian women and girls in Gaza and the West Bank allegedly perpetrated by Israeli forces.

In a statement released on Monday, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights highlighted a range of disturbing allegations, including extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detentions, degrading treatment, rape, and sexual violence.

The UN experts expressed deep concern over these reports, which they say have been corroborated by various sources.

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“While the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have denied these accusations, stating their commitment to international law, the UN experts have emphasized the need for a comprehensive inquiry into these allegations,” said one of the UN officials involved in the investigation.

The call for an investigation comes after photos purportedly showing female detainees in humiliating circumstances, reportedly taken by Israeli troops and circulated online, surfaced.

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Responding to these claims, the IDF maintained its stance, stating, “Without precise details or proof of individual cases, we can’t examine them in depth.”

Israel’s mission to the UN in Geneva has vehemently rejected the allegations, labeling them as “despicable and unfounded claims.” They stressed that no formal complaints of abuse had been received and reiterated Israel’s willingness to investigate any concrete claims of misconduct by its security forces.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office echoed this sentiment, pointing to the IDF’s statement when asked for a response to the UN experts’ call for an independent investigation.

The UN experts, part of the largest body for independent fact-finding and monitoring in the UN human rights system, expressed alarm over the “arbitrary detention” of hundreds of Palestinian women and girls since the Hamas attacks of October 7.

Reports of “multiple forms of sexual assault” against Palestinian women and girls in detention have also deeply troubled the UN experts. They recounted instances of Palestinian women being subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment, including denial of necessities like menstruation pads, food, and medicine.

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“At least two female Palestinian detainees were reportedly raped while others were reportedly threatened with rape and sexual violence,” the statement added, urging Israel to respect the rights and dignity of Palestinian women and girls.

This call for an investigation comes amid criticism leveled at the UN and human rights organizations for their response to reports of sexual violence and gender-based atrocities allegedly perpetrated by Hamas fighters against Israelis.

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