MK Haim Yellin (Yesh Atid) filed a formal request for an urgent hearing in the Knesset Sunday morning, demanding to stop transferring the bodies of terrorists back to their Palestinian Arab families as long as Hamas holds the bodies of murdered IDF soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, who were killed in Operation Protective Edge last year.
"The Security Cabinet decided not to [return the bodies], and eventually they did do it," he fumed Sunday. "The Israeli government continues to act inconsistently and against the values on which we educate our sons and daughters."
"It is our duty, as elected public officials, to act in any way to prevent the continued return of the bodies of terrorists, as long as there are negotiations for the return of Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin," he said.
Yellin called the Shaul and Goldin families Sunday morning to give them chizuk (encouragement; strength – ed.) in light of the recent developments.
"It is unacceptable that while bodies of our sons are held in Gaza, the government returns bodies of terrorists without any consequences," he stated during the calls. "The government must act in any way to return her sons who were sent into battle, home, and until then not allow terrorists' bodies to be returned."
"Israeli soldiers who swear to sacrifice their lives in defense of the homeland and liberty of Israel, are abandoned at the moment of truth," he added.
'A moral distortion of the first order'
Goldin, a first lieutenant in the Givati Brigade, was killed on August 1, 2014 at the height of the operation after Hamas terrorists breached one of several ceasefires to attack his unit on the outskirts of the city of Rafah. Shaul was killed the previous month during clashes between Hamas infiltrators and the IDF in the Gaza Belt and his body was also captured by terrorists.
Goldin's father, Simcha, spoke to the press earlier Sunday, categorically condemning the sudden government decision to reverse its ban on returning terrorists' bodies for burial.
"Protective Edge requires the Government of Israel to comply with the earlier decision not to return terrorists' remains until Hadar's and Oron's bodies are returned," he said.
Goldin additionally labelled the move "a moral distortion of the first order."
"The government's new decision weakens our beliefs and our bargaining power against our enemies," he fired. "We want to bring our children home, our sons, heroes of Israel, soldiers […] whose bodies were kidnapped by Hamas and have not returned home."
"We call on the government to stick to its original decision not to return the bodies of the terrorists for burial as heroes by their families – at least until Hadar and Oron's bodies are returned."