Biden officials theorize that Hamas broke an agreement to release female hostages to hide evidence of sexual abuse.
State Department spokesman Matthew Miller drove headlines on Monday when he publicly floated the hypothesis while speaking with reporters.
“[I]t seems one of the reasons they don’t want to turn women over that they’ve been holding hostage and the reason this pause fell apart is they don’t want those women to be able to talk about what happened to them during their time in custody,” Miller said, later explaining, “They continue to hold women. They were going to release these women, and then suddenly at the last point reneged on the deal and were never able to provide a credible reason why.”
Multiple Biden administration officials confirmed this theory, according to Puck.
The officials explained that part of deal holding together a temporary ceasefire last week was that Hamas would release the remaining women and children hostages. But the terrorists then reneged on the agreement, ending the pause in fighting.
Why? One senior administration official explained, “That is our going assumption, that at least one reason they’re unwilling to let these young ladies go is that they have been sexually assaulting them.”
“Everyone assumes it seems to be the case,” another official said. “It’s quite ugly.”
Yet another official told Puck, “What I understand is, part of the assumption is just that they don’t want to release them because they want to continue to abuse them.”
More from the news outlet:
None of the three officials said they had seen concrete, specific proof that this was why Hamas refused to hand over the remaining women in their custody. Rather, they said that this was the supposition of the Israeli government, and that the U.S. believes this is a reasonable conclusion based on Hamas’s strange unwillingness to hand them over.
Hamas’ use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war is a concern precisely because Palestinian apologists have either downplayed that widespread sexual violence happened on Oct. 7 or outright denied it. But the evidence is extensive and is growing.
It’s especially difficult, after all, to gather first-hand accounts of that sexual violence when Hamas terrorists killed their victims after raping them.
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