Leah Goldin to the UN: Gaza aid should depend on releasing my son

Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon urged the Security Council to 'put your politics aside, and help us bring our boys home.'

December 24, 2017 00:17
2 minute read.
LEAH GOLDIN, whose son Lt. Hadar Goldin was killed in action in the Gaza Strip three years ago, atte

LEAH GOLDIN, whose son Lt. Hadar Goldin was killed in action in the Gaza Strip three years ago, attends a UN Security Council session on Friday.. (photo credit: screenshot)


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Slain soldier Lt. Hadar Goldin was not the victim of the 2014 war in Gaza, but of a “humanitarian cease-fire brokered and sponsored by the United Nations,” Goldin’s mother, Leah, told the Security Council in a special meeting on Friday.

Noting that her son was killed 90 minutes after a humanitarian truce brokered by the UN and the US went into effect, Goldin said: “We all know the difference between maintaining a humanitarian cease-fire sponsored by the United Nations, and cynically exploiting it to murder and kidnap.”

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Leah Goldin speaks at the UN Security Council: Humanitarian aspects of missing and captive persons in Gaza (Arria Formula meeting), December 22, 2017. (UN Web TV)

The informal session in the Security Council, which was also attended by the representatives of some 30 countries not on the council, was sponsored by the United States and Ukraine with the hope of shedding light on the plight of Lt. Goldin and St.-Sgt. Oron Shaul, another IDF soldier whose remains are being held by Hamas, as well as two Israeli civilians being held in Gaza – Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed.

Leah Goldin said that three-and-a-half years after the war, Hamas has “thumbed its nose” at the many world leaders who have called for it to return her son’s remains.

But despite words of empathy, “Not one member state [of the UN] has done a single deed to help bring him home,” she said. The UN, she noted, has “not acted to right this wrong.”

She pointed out the irony that the international community held a conference after Operation Protective Edge where more than $5 billion was raised for humanitarian aid for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, while Hamas stands in violation of international law.

“Not one member state raised an objection that perhaps the international community should not reward Hamas, a serial violator of international law,” she said. “Not one member state insisted that the very least that Hamas should do to receive international humanitarian aid is to return my fallen son.”

Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon urged the Security Council to “put your politics aside, and help us bring our boys home. The UN has a legal and moral obligation to pressure Hamas and its unity government partner, the Palestinian Authority, to release Hisham and Avera, and return the bodies of Oron and Hadar.”

Former Canadian justice minister Irwin Cotler, who played a key role in putting together the meeting, said that while condemnations of Hamas’s ongoing violations of humanitarian law were welcome, international action to “remedy these violations” and act to get Hamas to return the Israelis is “as urgent as it is necessary.”
Video released by Hadar Goldin's family July 9, 2017 (Credit: Hadarsheli.co.il).

Ukraine’s Ambassador to the UN Volodymyr Yelchenko said his country would do “all it takes” to help ensure the Israeli captives are returned.

“Ukraine does share your pain,” he said, noting the country’s yearning for the return of its citizens taken captive by Russian-backed separatist forces during a conflict between the two sides that began in 2014 in which more than 10,000 people have died.

The representative of Kazakhstan, a Muslim-majority state and member of the Organizations of Islamic Cooperation, said that “humanitarian law must be respected and implemented by all, including Hamas.”

After expressing sympathy for Goldin and saying he could not imagine the pain she is going through, he added that “the demands of Islam” are that the bodies must be returned to their families.

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