Goldin family starts protest march to Gaza border, demanding return of Israeli captives

‘There are no efforts being made to return the captives,’ the slain officer’s brother charged.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The Goldin family has begun a three-day march to the Gaza border to protest Israeli government inaction regarding the return of the bodies of two IDF soldiers that have been held by Hamas for the past eight years.

In calling for the Israeli masses to join them, Ayelet, sister of Lieut. Hadar Goldin, reserved special outrage for how the government is releasing terrorists without demanding the basic quid pro quo.

Hamas is also holding two mentally ill civilians who crossed into the coastal enclave on their own in 2014 and 2015, Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed. Both are presumed alive.

“It’s been eight years since my brother was abandoned there; 677 terrorists have been returned alive, do you hear that number?!” she stated.

“And the soldiers are still there. Suitcases of cash are being transferred to Hamas, and the soldiers and civilians are still there. This year, 14,000 Palestinians are crossing over to work in Israel, and my brother is left thrown there. Enough, enough with this abandonment. We’re going out to regain our values ourselves.”

Goldin and St. Sgt. Oron Shaul were killed during 2014’s Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip, the terrorist organization has been using them – and the live hostages – as a bargaining chip for the release of their colleagues in Israeli prisons.

Read  Gantz: Israel lacks production capabilities to send Iron Dome to Ukraine

In a seeming pressure tactic, Hamas showed that at least one of them was alive for the first time in June, when the group publicized a video of al-Sayed lying down with an oxygen mask over his face, saying that his condition was deteriorating.

“We’re starting this march together with everyone who still cares about IDF soldiers,” he said. “The biggest lie that the recent governments have told the public is that there are efforts being made to return the captives. There are no efforts being made to return the captives!”

Although each coalition has appointed a point man for negotiating with Hamas, and over the years rumors surfaced from time to time of a deal being close, nothing has come of it. The Goldins are at the forefront of the struggle, demanding unsuccessfully, for example, that no humanitarian aid be allowed into Gaza until Hamas makes the basic humanitarian gesture of returning their son and Shaul so they can finally be buried.

Simcha Goldin, Hadar’s father, put particular blame on Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

“The situation is particularly serious now that the Minister of Defense of the State of Israel is Benny Gantz, who was the Chief of Staff of Protective Edge,” he told Israel National News Monday. “He abandoned these two soldiers on the battlefield.”

Read  Hamas: Wage ‘periodic wars’ in Judea and Samaria

“A year ago he commanded Operation Guardian of the Walls against the same enemy in the same place, and neither planned nor cared to bring the soldiers back.”

“It is a fact,” he added, “that after [the operation], Benny Gantz declared that there would [only] be rehabilitation in exchange for prisoners, and in the last year he has been rehabilitating Gaza wonderfully, gives them everything they want, but does not bring the captives back.”

Goldin charged that all the prime ministers since 2014 are deathly afraid of Hamas. “They are suffering from post-trauma because of Hamas,” he said, adding, “We need to root out this fear.”

“It’s inconceivable that the governments of Israel… will be afraid of our enemy who is in Gaza today, abducting soldiers and civilians and doing whatever it wants, firing rockets … and burning the fields in the south whenever it wants.”

“That’s why we’re going on a protest march, to show the public that there are only 100 kilometers between the Goldin family’s home in Kfar Saba and the Gaza border,” he stated. “I need the public to understand that we need actions here and not just likes and prayers, because otherwise this will become the rule and no soldiers will be brought back from the battlefield.”

Read  WATCH: Wounded victim of Hamas rockets becomes IDF officer - a first