U.S. Senators from Maine Susan Collins and Angus King announced Friday that they have joined a bipartisan resolution condemning the Islamist militant organization Hamas for their use of rape against Israelis during their Oct. 7 attack.
On Oct. 7, Hamas launched a terrorist attack from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel, killing more than 1,200 Israelis.
“Hamas’ widespread use of sexual violence against women in Israel during the terrorist attack on October 7 must be condemned unequivocally,” Sen. Collins said Friday. “It is imperative that we unite against these barbaric acts to hold Hamas accountable, support survivors, and provide justice for victims.”
The resolution comes after Sen. Collins led a bipartisan group of 28 Senators in condemning the United Nations (UN) earlier this week for its “inaction regarding Hamas’s widespread sexual violence, including mass rape and mutilation, against women in Israel” on Oct. 7.
The Senators wrote that a growing body of evidence including the testimonies of survivors, witnesses, and first responders makes clear that as part of Hamas’s terrorist attack, the terrorist organization “intentionally used rape and sexual assault as weapons of war.”
“Violence against women is a barbaric, inhuman tactic and most recently was used indiscriminately as a weapon of war during the October 7th terrorist attack against Israel,” Sen. King said. “The atrocities of gender-based violence must always be called out and condemned wherever, whenever and to whomever the violence occurs.”
“Hamas has repeatedly called for the complete annihilation of the Jewish people and rejects any peaceful resolution of Jewish and Palestinian territorial claims to the land stating, ‘There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad,'” King continued.
“Terrorism, including rape, will not create a more democratic Israel nor lead to self-determination for the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who are not Hamas terrorists,” he added. We must be unwavering in our denunciation of rape and gender-based violence against Israeli women—and the hateful sentiments behind them.”