Photo Credit: GPO
Netanyahu and Yaalon inspect the entrance to a terror tunnel in 2016.

By Andrew Friedman/TPS

Simcha Goldin, the father of missing IDF soldier Hadar Goldin, said Friday that any humanitarian gestures to Hamas must be conditioned on the return of his son’s body and that of Oron Shaul. Hamas kidnapped Goldin and Shaul in 2014 during Operation Protective Edge; the soldiers are presumed to have been killed during the conflict but the terror group has refused to confirm or deny that assumption.

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“Any humanitarian gesture to hamas must be conditional on the soldiers’ return,” Goldin told the Hebrew-language Ynet website. “Anything else would be a complete failure, morally and politically.”

Earlier Friday, Hamas rejected an Israeli demand for information about Goldin and Shaul, as well as about three Israeli civilians – Ethiopian-born Abera Mengistu, Bedouin-Israeli Hisham al-Sayed and Jumaa Abu Ghanima – who crossed into Gaza in recent years and have not been heard from since. “We will not provide any information about Israel’s missing people in exchange for the opportunity to search for our people,” said Hamas spokesman Mahmoud a-Zahar. “As far as we are concerned, they have been buried in their land.”

The exchange follows a decision Thursday by the IDF to prevent Gazan rescue workers from accessing the site of the explosion, where at least 12 terrorists died and several more are believed to have been trapped alive.

In response to that decision, the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and Gaza=-based al-Mezan Center for Human Rights petitioned the Israeli Supreme Court to overturn the military’s decision, arguing that the prevention of rescue teams from accessing the area is a “blatantly illegal policy” that is “contrary to the laws of war and humanitarian law which are anchored in the Geneva Conventions.”

“Saving lives is a basic, universal human imperative” added MK Hanin Zoabi (Joint Arab List). “But Israel has turned the saving of Palestinian lives into a wicked trump card.”

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