“There’s nothing more humane than collecting negotiating chips in order to bring our sons home,” said Israel’s defense minister.
By Aaron Sull, World Israel News
On Monday, Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett said that his policy of not returning the bodies of dead terrorists back to Hamas will help bring back the bodies of two IDF soldiers killed in 2014 during Operation Protective Edge.
“We have a moral and ethical obligation to bring them home, by pressuring Hamas by collecting terrorists’ bodies. There’s a lot of criticism, that it ‘doesn’t look good,'” he told participants at a Jerusalem Conference.
“Stop mixing things up. There’s nothing more humane than collecting negotiating chips in order to bring our sons home,” he added.
Hadar Goldin was killed in 2014 amid a UN-brokered ceasefire during Operation Protective Edge. Since then, Hamas has refused to return his body, along with the body of IDF soldier Oron Shaul.
The terror group is also holding captive two mentally ill civilians, presumed to be alive, who crossed into Gaza on their own in 2014 and 2015 – Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed.
On Sunday, an Israeli bulldozer prevented the burial of a terrorist who tried to plant an explosive device along the Gaza border fence.
Following the incident, Bennett came under fierce attacks on Twitter for supporting the IDF’s actions.
Hadash MK Aida Touma-Suleiman called Bennett “a minister of death and brutality,” and said that Israel “steals a body, abuses it using a bulldozer and still claims it has the most moral army in the world.”
Former director of Peace Now Yariv Oppenheimer called it “shameful and shocking” and will not provide “healing” for the families of the captured Israelis.
In response, Bennett tweeted, “I give my backing to the IDF that eliminated the terrorists and collected the body. That is what is needed and that is how we will act. We will use power against terrorists.”
“I am tired of the Left’s hypocritical criticisms against the ‘inhumane’ use of a bulldozer to recover the body of a terrorist who tried to murder Israelis,” he added.
According to The Jerusalem Post, since Bennett took over the defense portfolio in November 2019, the IDF has been holding onto the bodies of 10 terrorists with the intention of using them as leverage in future negotiations.