At a press conference Sunday in the wake of a rumored deal between Israel and Hamas, the Goldin and Shaul families again demanded that the retrieval of the remains of their loved ones from the hands of Hamas remain a priority, and a condition, for any deal. In sharp comments, Leah Goldin, the mother of missing IDF soldier Hadar Goldin, said that talk of a ceasefire with Hamas was “scandalous as long as our children have not returned home. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who portrays himself as ‘Mr. Security,’ is betraying our soldiers.”
Goldin and Oron Shaul were captured by Hamas during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, and are believed to have been killed in battle. Hamas claims to have their remains, and the government has pledged time and again to retrieve those remains and bring the soldiers to kever Yisrael. But four years after the war, no progress has been made, Leah Goldin said — evidence that the government is not trying hard enough.
If the government wanted to, it could use much greater force to redeem the soldiers — but it chooses not to. “What is more important, protecting the sewers of Gaza or our soldiers? The failure to use force is built around the mistaken concept of ‘preventing the next war,’ but what it really is, is the complete reversal of the interests of the country, which should be based on what is best for security and for our soldiers. Mr. Security, Prime Minister Netanyahu, is betraying the security of our soldiers, and thus the security of the State,” she said.
Goldin added that the families had never sought to prevent humanitarian aid from reaching Gaza, but that Netanyahu himself had promised that the return of the soldiers would be the first condition in discussions on any arrangements with Hamas. “He said that this would be a precondition for any deal,” Leah Goldin said. “This should be a test of how serious and reliable these negotiating partners are. If we don’t watch out for our soldiers, who will?”
The press conference was held on the background of reports that Israel and Hamas were ready to accept a deal to end the ongoing terror activity in southern Israel. A report on Hadashot News said that the deal would be part of an overall arrangement between Hamas, Fatah, and Israel. According to the report, the deal entails the Palestinian Authority taking over the reins of government in Gaza. Large sums of money will be invested to revive the Gaza economy. The deal includes an overall agreement with Israel, in which Hamas will pledge to lay off terror attacks for between five and 10 years. Israel will release many of the terrorists in its prisons, while Hamas will return the remains of IDF soldiers it is holding, as well as two live Israelis.