TEL AVIV — The mother of an IDF soldier who was killed during the 2014 Gaza war last week condemned the UN’s “painful and brutal silence” regarding her son’s fate.
Dr. Leah Goldin’s son Hadar was killed during Operation Protective Edge in 2014 and his remains are being held by Hamas.
On Friday, during a special UN Security Council meeting, Goldin spoke at a convention sponsored by the Israeli mission to the UN under the “Arria Formuka,” a procedure allowing citizens or NGOs to engage directly with the council.
The session on Friday was devoted to two Israeli citizens who are being held by Hamas in Gaza as well as the remains of two soldiers killed during Protective Edge.
The civilians are Avraham Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed. The other soldier is Oron Shaul.
Both Goldin and Shaul died during a ceasefire violated by Hamas.
“Our son was not the victim of a war, he was the victim of a ceasefire,” Goldin declared, according to a report in the Algemeiner. “A UN-sponsored ceasefire.”
She continued: “There has been only painful and brutal silence from the UN. Three years after he was taken, our son’s grave remains empty. Not one member of the UN has taken real action to return our sons. Only words. My country acted within UN rules.”
“We all know the difference between maintaining a humanitarian ceasefire sponsored by the United Nations, and cynically exploiting it to murder and kidnap,” Goldin said, according to a report by the Jerusalem Post. She added that aid to Gaza should be conditioned on Hamas returning the remains of Goldin and Shaul and the civilians held by the group.
The Israeli envoy to the UN, Danny Danon, asked council members to “look 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.”
He demanded that the council not let the “mistreatment of Israelis” go on any longer.
Goldin’s plea was answered warmly by Ukraine’s ambassador to the UN, Volodymyr Yelchenko, who told her: “We will do all it takes, again and again until justice prevails and Hadar, and the others taken, are returned home to their families.”
The session was also briefed by former attorney-general of Canada and international human rights lawyer Professor Irwin Cotler: “The denial of information about captive civilians, abducted and murdered soldiers by Hamas is a standing violation of international humanitarian law and more: the refusal to patriate the remains of murdered soldiers — one of whom, Hadar Goldin, was abducted and murdered in violation of a UN-mandated humanitarian ceasefire — is itself an egregious violation of the most fundamental principles of human rights and human dignity that underpin humanitarian law.”