US envoy to UN meets family trying to retrieve son’s remains from Gaza

Parents of IDF soldier Hadar Goldin, killed in 2014 war, seek help from Nikki Haley, who recently blasted UN for ‘outrageously biased resolutions‘ against Israel

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter

Simha and Leah Goldin with US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, left. (US Mission to the UN)
Simha and Leah Goldin with US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, left. (US Mission to the UN)

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley met Wednesday with the parents of Hadar Goldin, one of two Israeli soldiers whose body is being held by Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip, as the new envoy continued a push to align Washington’s stance in Turtle Bay more closely with that of Jerusalem.

Leah and Simha Goldin asked Haley to help them return the bodies of Goldin and of Oron Shaul for burial in Israel.

Israeli envoy to the UN Danny Danon thanked Haley, who has taken a stridently pro-Israel line since taking over the post early this month.

“Hadar was killed and kidnapped by despicable terrorists during a UN-sponsored ceasefire and we won’t rest until this organization ensures his and Oron’s return for proper burial in Israel,” he said.

Goldin’s unit was attacked during a failed ceasefire initiated by the UN on August 1, 2014. He was killed and his remains grabbed by Hamas fighters. The IDF was able to recover enough of Goldin’s body to declare him dead.

The family held a funeral, and since then has engaged in a campaign to return the rest of his remains. The Goldins have traveled to the United States three times in a bid to lobby for the return of their son’s body.

Shaul was killed during an attack on an APC on July 20, 2014, and his body taken captive, according to the IDF.

“We appreciate Ambassador Haley’s willingness to assist us in the return of our sons and we hope that these efforts bear fruit as soon as possible,” the Goldins said in a statement after meeting Haley.

Haley’s office did not release a statement on the meeting.

Danon has been working with UN officials and representatives from various countries to arrange diplomatic meetings for the Goldins aimed at ensuring the return of the remains of Goldin and Shaul for burial in Israel. In September, the UN hosted a photo exhibit of Goldin’s drawing aimed at raising awareness of the issue.

Haley met the couple shortly after her first press conference at the United Nations Security Council, at which she slammed what she called the “breathtaking double standards” and “outrageously biased resolutions” passed by the international body against Israel.

Describing her first meeting with the UN Security Council, she told reporters the discussion had not been about the buildup of illegal Hezbollah weapons, nor the money and weapons Iran provides to terrorists. It was not about how the world was working to defeat the Islamic State terror group, nor about the international community holding Bashar Assad accountable for the slaughter of Syrian civilians.

“Instead, the meeting focused on criticizing Israel — the one true democracy in the Middle East. I am new, but I understand that‘s how the council has operated month after month for decades.”

She added, “I‘m here to emphasize — the United States will stand up to the UN‘s anti-Israel bias. Instead, we will push for action on the real threats we face in the Middle East.”

“The outrageously biased resolutions from the Security Council and the General Assembly only make peace harder to attain by discouraging one of the parties from going to the negotiating table,” she said. “The double standards are breathtaking.”

Israel has long accused the UN of having a double standard, and the US has traditionally vetoed Security Council resolutions it sees as one-sided against the Jewish State. In November, however, the US withheld its veto on a resolution terming the West Bank settlements illegal, allowing the measure to pass and drawing an angry response from Jerusalem.

JTA contributed to this report.

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