The women's rights body U.N. Women on Friday posted and later deleted a condemnation of Hamas's Oct. 7 terror attacks on Israel, the latest instance of the United Nations sparking controversy for its response to the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
"We condemn the brutal attacks by Hamas on October 7 and continue to call for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages," read the now-deleted post on the United Nations organization's Instagram page, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. The United Nations women's group then replaced the post with one that only called for the release of hostages, with no condemnation of the terrorists.
A representative for U.N. Women told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the deleted post was inconsistent with the organization's focus amid the temporary truce between Israel and Hamas.
"U.N. Women social media team had pre-planned days in advance [of] this particular post, but then the news broke on the release of hostages and we really wanted to focus on that," a spokeswoman said in a statement. "U.N. Women has condemned the attacks by Hamas and the deaths of Israeli civilians from the beginning as well as called for the release of hostages, and we will continue doing so until the conflict ends. We have also called for all allegations of gender-based violence to be rigorously investigated, prioritizing the rights, needs, and safety of those affected."
After it replaced the post, the agency made another one on Instagram that condemned the "gender-based violence" on Oct. 7 but did not mention Hamas.
"We met with Israeli women’s organizations and heard about the work of the Civil Commission for crimes against women and children," the post read. "We remain alarmed by reports of gender-based violence on 7 October and call for rigorous investigation, prioritizing the rights, needs & safety of those affected."
In response to that post, the Israeli foreign ministry slammed U.N. Women on X, formerly Twitter, for being "SILENT on the rape, murder and kidnapping of hundreds of Israeli women and girls" for nearly 50 days following the attacks. Aside from an Oct. 13 statement condemning Hamas's attacks on Israel, the group's public comments have centered on the suffering of Palestinians, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported.
The controversy comes nearly two months after Hamas terrorists entered the Jewish state and killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians. Since then, the U.N. has drawn controversy for its comments on the war.
Weeks after the attacks, U.N. secretary-general Antonio Guterres faced backlash for saying that it was "important to also recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum," adding that the "Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation." In the days following his comments, the U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for a humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities, but it failed to adopt a proposed amendment to it that would have condemned Hamas's attacks.