“Misdar Hadar” and the Goldin family protest the UN’s inaction on the return of Hadar Goldin's remains outside of the United Nations complex in Armon Hanetziv in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: ESTI DESIOVOV/TPS)
During a protest on Wednesday morning outside of the United Nations complex in Armon Hanatziv, the family of captured IDF Soldier Hadar Goldin delivered a letter meant for UN envoy Nickolay Mladenov, calling for him to ensure that the return of Goldin’s body is a key part of any potential deal with Hamas.
The protest was arranged by Misdar Hadar (The Order of Hadar), which is a group of volunteers advocating for the return of Hadar’s body.
Goldin’s family and supporters gathered outside of the complex, holding protest signs in English that included “United Nations is unHumanitarian” [sic] and “Hadar Goldin, Victim of UN ceasefire.”
Goldin was killed and his body taken by Hamas on August 1, 2014 at around nine o’clock, even though a UN-brokered ceasefire had already taken effect between Israel and Hamas.
At nine o’clock, the family and supporters held a moment of silence to mark the moments when Hadar Goldin was captured almost precisely four years earlier.
Dr. Leah Goldin, Hadar’s mother, read to the assembly in English her letter to Mladenov, which called on him and the UN to act in the spirit of their stated roles as custodians of international humanitarian law, and to combat the “culture of impunity” Hamas benefits from by not being held accountable for holding his body.
Demonstrations outside PM’s residence for Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, June 3, 2018 (Daphna Krause/The Jerusalem Post)
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While then-UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-Moon did condemn the ceasefire violation at the time, Goldin said that “there has only been a four-year long, painful and brutal silence” from the UN
since then, except for a December 2017 UN Security Council session discussing repatriating captured Israeli soldiers.
“Mr. Mladenov, we have met several times, both in Israel and at the UN General Assembly… Nonetheless, and although you are deeply concerned with the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, I have never heard you call for the return of Hadar to Israel,” she said.
Saying that all UN institutions and representatives are responsible for seeing that obligations to international humanitarian law are kept by all parties, Goldin addressed Mladenov: “it is your role that requires making demands of Hamas and representation [sic] to the Palestinian Authority; to remedy the violations of international humanitarian rights and humanitarian law; and to put an end to this culture of impunity.”
MLADENOV, WHO serves as the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, has in recent weeks met with Israeli, Palestinian and Egyptian officials in an effort to calm tensions between Israel and Hamas.
After the reading of the letter, other members of Misdar Hadar blew shofar blasts and the assembly sung the “Hatikvah” national anthem. Goldin’s family then walked up to the gate of the UN complex.
The complex in Armon Hanatziv is the official headquarters of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization, a group focused on peacekeeping in the Middle East.
Leah Goldin spoke to the security guard in English, asking if she could deliver the letter to Mladenov. A security guard said a senior UN official would come to receive the letter; minutes later, an unidentified UN official came and took the letter from Goldin through the gate, promising to deliver the letter to Mladenov.
Goldin thanked the official, and then she and her family spoke to the press in Hebrew. She reiterated the demands of her letter, while Hadar’s brother Tzur Goldin added that the family is not against providing humanitarian aid to Gaza but believes the return of Hadar and other captive Israelis must be part of any deal.
When asked by a reporter about the government’s role in bringing Hadar back, Goldin declined to comment, saying that her family’s focus at the protest was on the UN’s role, not the government’s.
She has, however, directly protested in recent weeks against the Israeli’s government perceived inaction, including in a July conference at the Knesset.
Speaking with The Jerusalem Post
after the protest concluded, Hadar’s brother Tzur said that both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority must be held accountable for the his return, and the UN should not give humanitarian aid or foster a humanitarian deal for Gaza “before the PA takes care of returning the captives to Israel.”
“We are here [at the UN complex] at nine o’clock, four years after the hardest moments in my life, and in our lives… exactly four years after my brother was captured,” he said, because of Mladenov’s current efforts.
He added that Mladenov is working to find a solution for the residents of Gaza, but “he is neglecting to solve the problem of the captives.”
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