NEW YORK – The World Jewish Congress has begun an online petition urging the International Committee of the Red Cross to press Hamas for the return of the bodies of Israeli soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, who were killed in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge in 2014.
Shaul, a Golani Brigade staff sergeant, was killed and taken by Hamas members in July 2014 after they opened fired on his unit in Gaza. On August 1, following a deadly ambush in the southern part of the strip, Hamas kidnapped Goldin, a Givati Brigade lieutenant, during a cease-fire mediated by then US secretary of state John Kerry and UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon.
The petition, which has received more than 400 signatures over the past two days, is addressed to Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
“It has been two-and-a-half years since the cease-fire was brokered, and Hamas has borne no consequences from the international community for violating that cease-fire,” the document read.
Memorial service for IDF soldier Hadar Goldin , whose body is being held for ransom in Gaza after he was killed in Operation Protective Edge in 2014
The WJC pointed out that holding the bodies of those killed in action and preventing the return of their remains for burial is a violation of the Geneva Convention.
“Burying one’s dead is a humanitarian right and a religious right, and the rights of the Shaul and Goldin families remain violated,” the petition continued. “We, the Jewish community, continue to support the Goldin and Shaul families and advocate that the remains of Oron and Hadar are returned home to Israel for proper burials in accordance with Jewish tradition.
“We urge you to address this humanitarian issue and to use all diplomatic channels possible to bring these boys’ remains home to their final resting place. Our fallen brothers should be allowed to rest in peace so that their families may be relieved of their anguish, and be afforded closure and comfort knowing their sons fought to protect their country and its people.”
Goldin’s parents, Leah and Simcha Goldin, have made several trips to the United States over the past year to campaign for their cause, particularly to the United Nations, where they have held multiple meetings with UN officials including Ban, his former assistant for peacekeeping operations Edmond Mulet and Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon.
In September, they joined Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his trip to address the United Nations General Assembly in New York, and an exhibit of Hadar’s drawings was held in one of the main areas of the UN headquarters during the time world leaders converged in the building.
Most recently, the Goldins met with US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who pledged to advocate on their behalf.
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