In a demonstration to mark the fourth anniversary of the start of the 2014 Gaza war, a group of IDF veterans returned the pins they received for their combat service, as a protest over what they see as the government’s failure to secure the return of the bodies of two soldiers who fell in the fighting.
Approximately 20 veterans of Operation Protective Edge came to the Prime Minister’s Residence on Balfour Street in Yerushalayim to give back the striped battle pins. But they represented some 400 veterans around the country who also returned theirs, and signed a letter explaining why.
“We are here to remind the prime minister and members of the security cabinet that Operation Protective Edge won’t end until Lt. Hadar Goldin Hy”d and Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul Hy”d are returned,” the letter read.
“The issue of the missing [soldiers] is a bleeding wound,” it continued.
Referring to the trust that soldiers and their families put in the government to do all possible to bring the boys home:
“According to this trust, every soldier who goes to the battlefield by your direct order will return from the front, living or dead,” the letter read.
The soldiers said the government is violating that trust “day after day, time after time.”
In their letter, the soldiers said that Israel should make humanitarian assistance to Gaza contingent on the return of their fallen comrades “Humanitarianism in exchange for humanitarianism,” they said.
Goldin’s twin brother, Tzur yblc”t, pointed out that while the world is expressing so much concern for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, there’s an opportunity that should not be missed.
“There’s an opportunity that we won’t get again,” he said in a speech outside the PM’s residence on Sunday, The Times of Israel reported.
On the same day that a Qatari diplomat involved in talks with Hamas said that the terror group would only give back prisoners in return for prisoners, Tzur Goldin stressed that he was not calling for a prisoner exchange, which Israel has agreed to in the past to free captives, such as Gilad Shalit.