Simcha Goldin, the father of IDF Lt. Hadar Goldin — one of two soldiers whose remains have been held in Gaza since they were killed in action in the 2014 Operation Protective Edge — leveled a blistering attack at Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Wednesday for failing to prevent the entry of Hamas engineer Dr. Fadi al-Batsch‘s body into Gaza for burial.
Goldin said the issue was a “stinging failure” for the prime minister and his defense minister, as well as for Netanyahu‘s special envoy, Yaron Blum.
The 35-year-old engineer was a member of the Hamas military wing who worked on developing drones in Kuala Lumpur; he was assassinated outside a mosque in the Malaysian capital on Saturday. Israeli officials have remained silent on the attack, but said earlier in the week that they would not allow the accused terrorist’s body to enter Gaza for a mass hero‘s funeral.
Liberman also said he would pressure Egypt to prevent Hamas from bringing the body into Gaza via the Rafah border crossing, but Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) diplomats in Malaysia and Gaza, successfully countered the Israeli request. Al-Batsh‘s body was expected to enter Gaza on Wednesday, and to be buried in a mass Hamas show of force on Thursday.
“This is clearly a stinging failure.” Goldin said in a statement. “In a few hours the terrorist‘s body will be brought into Gaza and his funeral will become a huge event and a media festival for the Palestinians to show the entire Arab world and the international community Yahya Sinwar‘s victory over Benjamin Netanyahu. It is another victory for Hamas over the Israeli government and the people who lead it on the diplomatic and security fields: Netanyahu and Liberman.”
Goldin added that the events of recent days have made his family, as well as the families of Sgt. Shaul Oron, Abera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed lose faith in Netanyahu, Liberman and Blum.
Oron‘s body was also kidnapped by Hamas during the 2014 Operation Protective Edge, while Mengistu and al-Sayed are mentally ill Israeli civilians who accidentally entered Gaza and were abducted by terrorists there.
Goldin said that while he “honestly believes” that Blum would like to accomplish the goal of bringing the Israelis home, but simply hasn‘t been given the authority to do so by Netanyahu.
“We have come to see that the current envoy simply does not have the necessary backing of Netanyahu and Liberman to be able to bring the soldiers and civilians back. It‘s nothing personal against him (Blum), but when we realized that his access to the prime minister and the defense minister was very limited, (we understood that) he had basically no ability to get things moving and push this issue forward. That‘s the point that broke us.
“Bringing them back is simply not their top priority,” Goldin added.
As of this writing, neither the prime minister or the defense minister had issued statements about Goldin‘s attack. Netanyahu did say that he and Yaron Blum had met with the Mengistu family “as part of the ongoing connection I maintain with the families of our soldiers and civilians who are being held by Hamas.”
Netanyahu‘s office said the prime minister told the Mengistu family that security forces and other members of Blum’s team are “working all the time, exploring every possible avenue in order to bring this goal (of obtaining the hostages’ release) to fruition.”