Israel will do all that it can to return from Hamas the remains of two IDF soldiers, St.-Sgt. Oron Shaul and Lt. Hadar Goldin, who were ruled dead and whose burial place is unknown, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said.
Ya’alon’s comments came during a visit to Golani Brigade fighter Shaul’s family home.
Ya’alon told the family “we are obligated to return Oron to Israel for burial. We will not rest until this happens.”
Ya’alon also vowed to update the family on all developments and said his door is open to them.
“It is obvious to us that Oron’s body is being held by Hamas, and we are doing everything we can to return it,” Ya’alon said, adding that he and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu are working on the diplomatic level to return the body to Israel for burial.
Givati Brigade soldier Goldin was killed in a firefight in the southern Gaza Strip on August 1 and his remains were seized by Hamas fighters who escaped through an underground tunnel.
At the time, fearing that a soldier had been kidnapped, the IDF bombarded the area, resulting in the deaths of dozens of Palestinians, according to local health officials.
The effort is widely-believed to be an application of the “Hannibal Protocol,” an IDF practice that calls for the use of heavy fire in an attempt to prevent the abduction of an IDF soldier, even if that fire endangers the life of the soldier.
On Monday, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), wrote a letter to Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein calling on him to instruct the government and the IDF that actions to prevent the abduction of soldiers must not risk the life of the soldier or take place in civilian locations.
They also demanded a probe into the use of the protocol during Operation Protective Edge.