UN Security Council holds session on Israelis held by Hamas

The UNSC recently held a special session on the fate of two Israeli civilians and the remains of two IDF soldiers held by Hamas, in contradiction with international law. 

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) held a special session on the plight of Israeli civilians and the remains of IDF soldiers held by the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip.

The US and Ukraine, members of the UNSC, co-hosted the “Arria-Formula” session – a special informal meeting of the Council.

Hamas, which rules Gaza, is believed to be holding the remains of two IDF soldiers, Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, killed during the 2014 war.

Shaul was killed in battle together with another six Golani soldiers in Shajaiya in 2014 when their armored personnel carrier was hit by an anti-tank rocket. His body was never recovered and is assumed to be held by Hamas.

Goldin was abducted by Hamas and killed during a battle with Hamas terrorists in Shajaiya. Two other IDF soldiers also died in the incident. The battle ensued hours after a UN-sponsored ceasefire came into effect.

In addition, Hamas is believed to be holding three Israeli civilians who scaled a border fence and entered Gaza. Ethiopian-Israeli Avera Mengistu and Bedouin Hisham al-Sayed, both said to be suffering from mental health issues, crossed into Gaza willingly in 2014 and 2015, respectively, and were captured by Hamas. A third Israeli citizen, Bedouin Jumaa Abu Ghanima, entered Gaza in July 2016.

Representatives from over 35 UN member-states took part in the meeting, with many stressing the importance of this humanitarian cause.

‘Brutal silence from the UN’

Dr. Leah Goldin, Hadar’s mother, addressed the Council.

“Our son was not the victim of a war, he was the victim of a ceasefire. A UN-sponsored ceasefire. There has been only painful and brutal silence from the UN,” charged Goldin.

“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. I want my son back,” she continued.

Demanding that the UN continue to act until the Israelis held are returned, Goldin noted that “Hadar was not only our son, but a brother to his siblings. He also left behind a fiancée after he was taken 30 days before he was supposed to be married.”

Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon urged the 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.”

Danon demanded that the Council not “allow this mistreatment of Israelis to go on one day longer.”

Ukraine’s Ambassador to the UN Volodymyr Yelchenko vowed to “do all it takes, again and again until justice prevails and Hadar, and the others taken, are returned home to their families.”

Professor Irwin Cotler, former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and an international human rights lawyer, also briefed the Council.

“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,” Cotler stated.

Hamas refused a request by the International Red Cross in September to meet with the Israeli captives.