The mother of a slain Israeli soldier whose remains are being held by the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip protested on Friday the United Nation’s failure to take action on his behalf, noting that he was killed and kidnapped during a UN-sponsored ceasefire.
Leah Goldin said her son “was not a victim of the war in Gaza but a victim of the ceasefire, a humanitarian ceasefire brokered and sponsored by the United Nations.” But she censured UN members for doing “nothing” to push for his return.
She called on UN members to condition any further aid to Gaza on the release of her son’s remains.
Lt. Hadar Goldin was killed on August 1, 2014 in the Gaza Strip along with Sgt. Oron Shaul, when Hamas gunmen attacked their position hours after a US- and UN-sponsored ceasefire had gone into effect at the height of the Gaza war.
“This act of terror by Hamas took advantage of a ceasefire sponsored by this organization, the United Nations,” Goldin told members of the Security Council during an unofficial session Friday. “It was a cynical and cold-blooded violation of all principles that this organization cherishes.”
Goldin expressed anger that “there has been no expression of collective outrage by the member states of the United Nations calling for his return. There has been only silence. Painful and brutal silence.
“The integrity of the United Nations stands on the line,” she said.
She warned that should the UN not hold Hamas responsible for its actions, “other unprincipled and murderous terrorist organizations and states will feel empowered to manipulate the UN.
“We are outraged by the fact that families in Gaza are rebuilding their lives thanks to the kindness of the global community while our family is unable to even grieve properly,” she said.
Goldin spoke at the dedicated session on the status of missing Israelis believed to be held by Hamas, including slain IDF soldiers Goldin and Shaul, and four Israeli citizens who entered the enclave on their own accord.
Irwin Cotler, head of the Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights and a former justice minister of Canada, also spoke at the event. The session, co-sponsored by UN Security Council members US and Ukraine, was initiated by the Israeli Mission to the United Nations.
Speaking at the session, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon urged the council members to “look at Leah Goldin in the eyes. Explain to this mother why she has had to wait for three long years and still has no answers. Why her family is still forced to wait to give Hadar the respect and dignity of a proper burial that he so deserves.”
The Israeli envoy then demanded that the council not “allow this mistreatment of Israelis go on one day longer.”
According to a brief sent out before the session, under discussion were the “violations of humanitarian obligations and international law” by Hamas, “the effects of the families of those held, and the implications of these acts on other countries who fight terrorism.”
Participants also discussed how the international community could work to reach solutions for the victims and their families.
Hamas is holding the bodies of Goldin and Shaul, which were captured when they were killed in Gaza during the 2014 war between Israel and the terror group. It is also believed to be holding four Israeli citizens — Avraham Avera Mengistu, Hisham al-Sayed, Juma Ibrahim Abu Ghanima and an unnamed person — all of whom entered Gaza on their own accord.
As part of the efforts to return the Israelis, Israel has reportedly been having indirect contact with Hamas about possible prisoner deal talks — efforts that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hinted at. The terror group is seeking the release of its members held in Israeli prisons in exchange for the captured Israelis.
Last month, Goldin’s family filed a petition with the High Court of Justice requesting that the court order the government to implement the “plan of action” adopted by the security cabinet earlier this year that called for further pressure to be levied against Hamas until the bodies of Goldin and Shaul, along with the four living Israelis being held in the Palestinian territory, are returned.
Although the security cabinet provided no details on the plan when it was adopted in January, a statement from Netanyahu’s office at the time said Israel will no longer return the bodies of Hamas terrorists killed during attacks and will instead bury them.
The filing of the petition also came a day after the Israel Defense Forces announced it had recovered the bodies of five Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists that were killed when the IDF destroyed a Gazan attack tunnel that crossed into Israeli territory.
Following the announcement, the Goldin family called on the government to withhold the bodies until the remains of their son were returned, and threatened to take the case to the High Court in order to prevent it.
Netanyahu vowed last month to bring back the Israelis being held by Hamas, signaling he would use bodies of Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists held by Israel as leverage.
In November the family of Avera Mengistu met with US special envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt to discuss efforts for releasing their loved one. Mengistu’s brother Ilan and mother Agurnesh conferred with Greenblatt at the White House.