Washington’s envoy to the United Nations met on Wednesday with the parents of a fallen Israeli soldier whose body is being held by the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, The Times of Israel reported.
Leah and Simha Goldin asked Ambassador Nikki Haley to help pressure Hamas to return the body of their son, Hadar, and that of another Israeli soldier, Oron Shaul, both of whom were killed during Operation Protective Edge in 2014.
Hadar was killed and his body taken when his unit was ambushed by Hamas fighters on August 1, 2014, in violation of a UN-arranged ceasefire. A member of his unit, Jonny S., later described the circumstances of the ambush to Tower Magazine contributor Yardena Schwartz. Shaul was killed along with six other Israeli soldiers on July 20, 2014, when his armored personnel carrier was struck in the eastern Gaza Strip.
Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, thanked Haley for meeting with the Goldins, saying, “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.”
Danon has been working with UN officials and representatives from a number of countries to retrieve the remains of the two Israeli soldiers. In September, the UN hosted an exhibit of Hadar’s artwork to raise awareness of the situation.
“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 after the meeting.
Last week, Rep. Brian Mast (R – Fla.) took to the House floor to call for the return of Hadar’s body. Noting that Hadar’s unit was attacked during a ceasefire arranged by the UN, Mast urged “the United Nations to step up for what is right. Show some spine, show some resolve, and stand against Hamas. Do not be a rug that Palestinians trounce across as they shop the United Nations to fulfill their agenda while never being held accountable for their acts of terrorism and their acts against basic human dignity.”
“I urge the new administration to take the necessary steps to help bring Hadar home and ensure his family can finally give him a proper burial–the kind of burial that every soldier, regardless of their uniform, deserves,” Mast concluded.
Hamas released a video in January mocking Shaul in an apparent attempt to pressure Israel to make a deal for the release of his and Hadar’s bodies. However, earlier this month, Hamas reportedly rejected an offer from Israel to release the bodies and free at least two living Israeli citizens in exchange for significant economic aid. Hamas officials said the deal failed to meet Hamas’ minimum demands, which include the release of 60 Hamas members currently incarcerated in Israel.
Palestinian affairs correspondent Khaled Abu Toameh pointed out last year that Hamas has prioritized building up its terror infrastructure over rebuilding Gazan homes, writing that “the last thing Hamas cares about is the welfare of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.”
[Photo: US Mission to the UN ]