SIMCHA AND LEAH GOLDIN speak to the press at their home in Kfar Saba..
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/ MAARIV)
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman is not putting enough pressure on Hamas to release Lt. Hadar Goldin’s body because “he is weak and a coward,” the captive’s father said.
In a press conference in their home in Kfar Saba following the resignation of the POW/MIA coordinator, Leah and Simcha Goldin said they understand Liberman’s stance not to repeat the “mistake” of the Gilad Schalit deal, but added that more action should be taken.
“We also think that Israel in the past has signed outrageous deals [to free captives], but without putting pressure on Hamas, we will never reach the promised land,” Simcha Goldin said. “Liberman knows our stance. The reason he is not adopting it is because the State of Israel has a defense minister who is weak and a coward. He is good at talking and bad at taking action.”
Attorney Lior Lotan, the prime minister’s envoy for captives and missing persons, resigned on Thursday.
Goldin called on Liberman to implement the cabinet’s decision to take a firmer stand against Hamas.
“We should not give back bodies of Hamas [terrorists], and halt immediately all their prisoner visits,” he said. “Gentlemen, it’s time to put an end to these games.”
The Goldins called on all politicians to help them bring back their son and the second captive soldier in Gaza, Sgt. Oron Shaul, who were killed in Operation Protective Edge in 2014.
“Don’t turn Hadar the hero into a bargaining chip,” said Goldin. “Life is not something one can discuss in market terms.
From day one we asked to change the equation and put pressure on Hamas.”
Liberman responded to the Goldins and said he accepts their criticism with love and understanding, and that he is still personally committed to bringing back Hadar and Oron, and the other citizens that are being held in Gaza.
However, Liberman stressed that Israel will not repeat the “mistake” of freeing Palestinian prisoners in exchange for any Israeli citizen held in the Hamasrun Gaza Strip, dead or alive.
In addition to Goldin and Shaul, two others, Avera Mengistu, an Ethiopian-Israeli, and Hisham al-Sayed, a Beduin, are both believed to be held by the terrorist group. Mengistu and Sayed suffer from psychiatric disorders, and both crossed into the Strip voluntarily and have been missing for three years. The terrorists have attempted to use all four as negotiating assets for prisoner releases.
Addressing the resignation of Lotan, Liberman referred to the 2011 deal that saw more than 1,000 Palestinian security prisoners released for the return of soldier Gilad Schalit, who was held captive by Hamas for five years.
Lotan, who was working without remuneration, resigned on Thursday after three years in the position. He replaced David Meidan, who played a key role in formulating the Schalit deal.
According to Liberman, seven Israelis have been murdered by Palestinians released in the deal, and 202 have since been rearrested for involvement in terrorism, of whom 111 are still in Israeli prisons.
Liberman added that before replacing Lotan it was important to “draw clear lines for the State of Israel and its emissaries, and to especially stand firm against our enemies and make it clear to them that we have no intention of compromising on the security of the people of Israel.”