The families of Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, the two IDF soldiers whose bodies have been held by Hamas since Operation Protective Edge in 2014, on Saturday evening criticized the impending reconciliation agreement between Israel and Turkey, which does not include a requirement for Hamas to return the two soldiers’ bodies.
Shaul’s parents held a press conference on Saturday night in which they protested the fact that Israel is negotiating with Turkey without including the return of the bodies of the two soldiers, and announced their intention to set up a protest tent outside the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem.
"My son Oron went to war in Gaza two years ago and never came back," said Oron’s mother, Zehava. "During these two years we’ve met numerous times with the Prime Minister, and he assured us that there were no negotiations without Oron and Hadar Goldin being mentioned.”
Oron’s father, Herzl, added, "I spoke with Netanyahu and he told me not to pay attention to anything that is written in the papers. He said that Hamas will not receive anything until the boys are returned. I hope he will keep his word."
Goldin's family, meanwhile, on Saturday night issued a statement saying it opposes an agreement with Turkey which does not include returning Hadar’s body.
"For two years, the Goldin family has been advocating for the reversal of the equation, to make Hamas pay a price for the kidnapping of Hadar and Oron and for holding them hostages until today,” the family said.
“We see the impending agreement between Israel and Turkey, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and the country which serves as Hamas’s patron in Gaza, as very serious. The agreement does not include the return of Hadar and Oron to Israel, contrary to explicit assurances from the Prime Minister for the past two years. The time has come for Israel to be the one that sets prices for Hamas for the kidnapping and holding of soldiers and not as we've come to be accustomed to the last 30 years – where we pay a heavy price to our enemies,” they added.
The comments come as Israel and Turkey are reportedly set to finalize the terms of their reconciliation on Sunday.
Diplomatic officials confirmed to Arutz Sheva on Thursday that Cabinet ministers will be asked to approve the reconciliation agreement between Israel and Turkey during meeting next week.
The Prime Minister’s Office said on Saturday night, in response to the protest by the Shaul and Goldin families, “Israel continues with overt and covert efforts to bring soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, of blessed memory, and the two Israeli citizens held in Gaza, back to Israel. Israel will not stop its activities to realize this mission.”
Goldin and Shaul were recognized by the IDF as captives missing in action earlier this month, in a move which came as part of a renewed effort to recover the bodies of the fallen soldiers.