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June 26, 2016 12:18 pm

Jerusalem-Ankara Agreement Elicits Outraged Response From Mother of IDF Officer Fighting for Return of Son’s Remains to Israel From Gaza: ‘Turkey Is Hamas’ Patron; It Has Leverage’ (INTERVIEW)

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Leah Goldin, mother of the late Hadar Goldin, who was abducted and killed by Hamas. Photo: Provided.

Leah Goldin, mother of the late Hadar Goldin, who was abducted and killed by Hamas. Photo: Provided.

“I don’t accept the claim that Turkey has no leverage where returning the bodies of our boys from Gaza is concerned,” the mother of deceased 23-year-old IDF lieutenant Hadar Goldin told The Algemeiner on Sunday.

Dr. Leah Goldin was expressing her outrage and frustration at the discovery that the upcoming agreement between Jerusalem and Ankara, an official announcement about which is scheduled for Sunday evening does not mention the two young men who were abducted and killed by Hamas terrorists during a cease-fire in the midst of Operation Protective Edge – the war that Israel fought in the summer of 2014 against the Palestinian terrorist organization ruling the Gaza Strip.

“Turkey is Hamas’ patron,” she asserted. “Turkey is also a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. Turkey — with the whole Mavi Marmara story — proved to us that it is the country closest to Hamas and most concerned with taking care of Hamas interests. It cannot be that Turkey has no say.”

Goldin was referring to the 2010 Free Gaza Flotilla raid that resulted in the death of 10 Turkish activists at the hands of IDF commandoes trying to defend themselves against attack on one of the ships on the way to breaking Israel’s naval blockade of the coastal enclave. It was this incident that led to a severing of diplomatic relations between Israel and Turkey under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Because of Turkey’s support for Hamas, Goldin said, negotiations that have been going on for a few years now between the governments of Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should have included a stipulation for the return of Hadar and Oron, Goldin said, revealing that her grandson is now a soldier in the Golani Brigade. “He wanted to go into the combat unit to follow in his uncle’s footsteps,” she said.

“This is not only a humanitarian issue – and an Israeli value never to leave behind soldiers in battle – but it is a crucial message to the new crops of soldiers who will have to fight in the next war,” Goldin said, expressing disappointment that the young men were not used as a condition for reaching a deal with Turkey – especially after “being told by Netanyahu on an hour-long conference call recently, that everything was being done to return them to Israel for burial, and that nobody had forgotten us.”

Netanyahu opened Sunday morning’s weekly cabinet with a similar statement.

“There is much misinformation and disinformation about the possible agreement being crystallized with Turkey,” he said. “I would therefore like to clarify that we have been making every effort, through both overt and covert means, to return to Israel Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, may their memory be blessed, as well as the two Israelis being held in Gaza [Bedouin Israeli Hisham Al-Sayed and Ethiopian-Israeli Avraham Mengistu, a mentally unstable man who crossed over into Gaza last September]. We are in continual contact with the families. And we will not rest until we return the boys home.”

In an interview with The Algemeiner on Israel’s Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism last month, Goldin explained the campaign that she and her husband, Simha – a relative of former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s – have been waging in the civil sphere to “raise awareness” at home and abroad and to alter the way bargaining with Hamas is conducted.

“Until now, Hamas has abducted soldiers and demanded a heavy price from Israel for their release. The time has come to turn that equation on its head. Rather than waiting for Hamas to demand a price from Israel, a price from Hamas must be exacted for not returning the bodies.”

According to Israel’s Channel 2, a senior government official explained that the reason that the return of the bodies was not included in the agreement with Turkey is that doing so would have provided Hamas with veto power over other elements of the deal.

In response, the Shaul family set up a protest tent outside of the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, and the families of the two Israelis still being held captive in Gaza are conducting a demonstration as well.

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  • Yale

    I cannot assure Dr. Goldin that such provisions exist, but it makes sense to me that any agreement Israel may have with Turkey on IDF and Israeli prisoners being held by Hamas would not be made public. This is a case where giving this time to work itself out may be in order. The bodies may be released quietly through some back channel in a way that would enable Turkey to deny having had any role.

    • Markus Elkana Brajtman

      Israel must stop sending terrorist bodies back to their families, until every Israeli dead or alive, .is returned to Israel.
      The Israelis must demand this, if the government does not take note, then every Israeli must demonstrate outside the offices of the defense Ministry as well as the office of the PM

  • Sam Harris

    They are all swine surrounding us.

  • Yaakov

    There is no love lost between Israel and Turkey under the latter’s current regime. The agreement that Israel is seeking, which will be tenuous at best, is motivated strictly by Israel’s perceived self-interests in terms of security and economic factors.

    Although everyone would like to see the return of the remains of these two soldiers, there is a world of difference between lifeless bodies, the former receptacles for human beings, and living human beings. Return of the former can never be of the same priority as return of the latter.

    On a positive note, any agreement between Israel and Turkey may have a dampening effect on Hamas’s evil intentions.

  • It seems to me that some family members of the heads of Hamas have been treated in hospitals in Israel. I wish I could make this suggestion more covertly than as a comment in a newspaper — but what could be simpler than grabbing the daughter of a Hamas chief after her treatment is done and exchanging her for the remains of Oron and Hadar? If the official Israeli bodies cannot do it, let the families organize it….

    • I agree with Hamanhanger.
      use any Hamas relative in Israel being treated in Israel, not to return any of those to Hamas.
      I would go even one further. Keep them prisoner just as Hamas has done to Israelis, in the past. But never reveal where they are being held.
      Further, I would not release any bodies of terrorists killed by IDF, until our boys have been returned home.
      What they are doing is surely a war crime.

      What has the UN and EU got to say about this.?

    • Problem is that we cannot stoop to the same tactics as a terrorist group – which would make us just another terrorist group. But what HAS been reported is that until the bodies are returned, Israel will no longer accept family members of Hamas leaders for medical care in Israel, as has been happening quietly and constantly.
      I have a problem with a barking dog. Experts explained to me that the only way to stop the dog barking when he wants something, is to ignore it. The more you respond, the more it barks. Only when it sees the barking doesn’t help, will he stop. The more fuss and noise we make publicly, as the bereaved families are now commencing to do – the more it pays the Hamas to hold onto the remains.
      Turkey HAS influence over Hamas. But do the bereaved families really believe that in order to get the remains of two soldiers returned, Turkey can be forced to impose its will on its protege ? Is the deal with Israel really important enough to the Turks, to use refusal as an ultimatum ? The families would be well advised to let Turkey exert its influence for humanitarian reasons, as it has stated it will do (rather expect turkey and the Hamas to back down and lose face by being forced). The less publicity and outcry – the better the chances of success.

    • Lois Feinberg

      Maybe that is not such a bad idea. After all, there is no law that says that Israel has to medically treat Hamas families. It is just the humanitarian thing to do. No one is saying that the patients have to be harmed in any way, but keeping them hostage to get some kind of reasonable request from the other side, makes sense.

    • It will be a smarter move indeed to detain the daughter of the Hamas chief and seek exchange of bodies of the martyrs!

    • Are you serious? That suggestion makes Israelis no better than Hamas. Making an innocent child a pawn in such a nefarious scheme?As a Jew, I want Israel to be a light unto the nations; a model of justice, equality and morality.