Yesterday, Assistant to the President and Director of the Gender Policy Council Jennifer Klein, as well as other senior officials from the Gender Policy Council and the National Security Council, met with Dr. Cochav Elkayam-Levy, Chair of Israel’s Civil Commission on October 7 Crimes by Hamas Against Women and Children. From the earliest days of the conflict, the Biden-Harris Administration has been deeply concerned by the horrific reports of sexual violence used by Hamas against Israeli women and children as part of the October 7 attacks. As President Biden has again underscored, the world cannot look away from the accounts by survivors and witnesses detailing the brutality of that day.
During the meeting, Dr. Elkayam-Levy spoke about her work to gather testimony and document evidence of the events of October 7 and develop a comprehensive accounting of gender-based violence committed by Hamas. The group discussed the imperative to unequivocally denounce sexual violence by Hamas, and the need for broad commitment across the international community to hold perpetrators accountable and support survivors. Director Klein reiterated the President’s commitment to exercising all financial, diplomatic and legal tools to address sexual violence in conflict, and the ongoing efforts by the Administration to secure the release of the women and girls that continue to be held as hostages by Hamas.