Families feel ‘abandoned’ as terrorists’ bodies returned while IDF soldiers’ remains stay with Hamas

“There has consistently been a policy of abandoning the soldiers, they are just not returning them,” charged Leah Goldin.

By World Israel News Staff 

The latest battle between the parents of an Israeli soldier waiting for the return of their son’s remains and the government official responsible for trying to ensure that it happens has broken out into the open again this weekend.

At the center of the latest controversy is Israel’s return to Gaza of the body of 17-year-old Khalil Shaheen, shot and killed by the IDF as he was said to be trying to sabotage the Gaza-Israel security fence.

At a mass funeral held on Friday, Shaheen’s coffin was draped in a Hamas flag.

However, Yaron Blum, the Israeli government’s coordinator for prisoners and missing persons, argues that, under Israeli cabinet instructions, Shaheen’s body could not have been held by Israel as a bargaining chip for the return of Israeli bodies because he was not active in the Hamas terror group. Blum made the assertion in an interview with Israeli public broadcaster Kan on Sunday.

Hamas rules the Gaza Strip. It is also holding the remains of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, killed and abducted after a U.N. ceasefire had already gone into effect to end Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014.

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“Hadar has been in the hands of Hamas for five years and three months, Oron too, and there has consistently been a policy of abandoning the soldiers, they are just not returning them,” charged Leah Goldin, Hadar’s mother, on Israeli Channel 12 news.

“A week ago, when a terrorist’s body was returned, Hamas wrapped it in a flag and this is the biggest scandal because in January 2017, the Cabinet decided not to return the bodies of Hamas terrorists,” said the mother.

“There is a terrible deception of the families. There is simply a sweeping policy of abandonment here,” she said, also personally attacking Blum. “He constantly deceives us, lies to us,” said Leah Goldin.

Blum told Kan that the families have been updated and insisted that there is progress in contacts toward returning Goldin’s and Shaul’s remains.

An in-depth inquiry by TPS shows that Shaheen was a member of a terrorist group and that the government apparently violated its own policies when it returned his body to Gaza for burial.

A source in Gaza told TPS that Shaheen was a member of the “Al-Ahrar,” an armed Jihadist group, as well as a member of the “Nighttime Attrition” unit whose objective is to turn the lives of the Israelis living around Gaza into a living nightmare.

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Both organizations are linked to and supported by Hamas, but its members are not full Hamas members. They operate in line with a policy set forth by Hamas leader in Gaza Yihya Sinwar, reports TPS.