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Jewish women march on UN over October 7 attacks on Israel

Under the slogan 'Me too, unless you're a Jew', the protesters chanted 'shame on UN', sported banners reading 'rape is rape'
— United Nations (United States) (AFP)

Dozens of Jewish women and their supporters marched in front of UN headquarters Monday to highlight the brutal October 7 attacks on Israel by Hamas which saw dozens of women and children taken hostage.

Chanting "shame on UN", demonstrators sported banners reading "rape is rape", while speakers attacked the UN for inaction over the mistreatment of Israeli women.

"I call it the 'United Nothing'... why do we have to be here to tell the UN to protect people?" said demonstrator Hillary Larson, 64, a pediatric nurse from New York.

"First they should condemn (Hamas) 100 percent... then demand that Hamas release hostages, innocent people taken from their homes."

UN representatives have faced criticism from Israeli officials since the start of the conflict, and last week Israel notified it that the humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories would not have her visa renewed.

Protesters among the roughly 150-strong crowd waved Israel's flag and chanted "release the hostages" while one held a banner marked "(UN Secretary-General Antonio) Guterres, what if Hamas kidnapped your family?"

Hamas militants burst through Gaza's militarized border into Israel on October 7 and killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, while also taking around 240 hostages, according to Israeli authorities.

Vowing to destroy Hamas, Israel responded with an air and ground campaign that Gaza authorities say has killed mostly women and children.

The Hamas-run health ministry says more than 15,500 people have been killed in Gaza, about 70 percent of them women and children -- a death toll that has sparked global alarm and mass demonstrations.

A seven-day pause in fighting, brokered by Qatar with support from Egypt and the United States, led to the release of 80 Israeli hostages in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners.

More than two dozen other captives were freed from Gaza outside the scope of the truce deal.

"We're here supporting Israeli women who were brutally raped. They deserve the support of other women. Any other attack on women would be treated as a crime," former lawmaker Carolyn Maloney, who spoke at Monday's march, told AFP.

A line of 20 women smeared with synthetic blood, some wearing just their underwear, formed a line at the front of the demonstration to draw attention to violence against women by Hamas.

Israeli police say they have been investigating evidence of sexual violence, ranging from alleged gang rape to post-mortem mutilation.