Leah Goldin, the mother of slain IDF soldier Lt. Hadar Goldin.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Hamas’s cynical exploitation of a UN-sponsored cease-fire put in place out of humanitarian considerations enabled its terrorists to surprise and kill Lt. Hadar Goldin and St.-Sgt. Oron Shaul in the Gaza Strip in the midst of Operation Protective Edge.
Three-and-half-years later, Hamas is still taking advantage of Israel’s adherence to humanitarian rules as Hamas continues to disregard those same rules and regulations.
Hamas has no qualms about holding the remains of Shaul and Goldin as bargaining chips in direct violation of humanitarian principles. At the same time the terrorist group submits requests to Israel, many of which are approved, to admit Gaza’s residents – some of whom are relatives of Hamas terrorists – to receive medical treatment.
Hamas also expects Israel to allow visits by family and friends to Hamas terrorists incarcerated in Israeli prisons. And when Israel kills Hamas or Islamic Jihad terrorists, the expectation is that Israel will return these bodies.
The absurdity and injustice of this situation is unbearable for Simcha and Leah Goldin, the parents of Hadar.
Last year they petitioned the High Court of Justice to order the government to stop providing humanitarian aid to known Hamas terrorists and their families as long as Hamas inhumanely holds the remains of their son.
As a result of the Goldins’ petition, the government agreed to implement a blanket prohibition on Hamas terrorists and their relatives entering Israel for medical treatment, other than in immediate life-threatening situations.
While we applaud the government’s action, we wonder why it took a High Court petition from Hadar’s grieving parents to force our leaders to finally do the right thing. Compounding our confusion is the knowledge that a full year ago the security cabinet decided on precisely such a step, but did not implement its own decision.
The argument made by the state before the court was that the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories unit lacked sufficient information about who was and who was not connected to Hamas, and therefore was unable to implement the security cabinet decision. But now, a year later, COGAT has the requisite intelligence information.
The state also said that newly appointed National Security Council chief Meir Ben-Shabbat recently ordered COGAT to implement the restrictions on Hamas.
It is hard to believe that the IDF needed an entire year to determine who in the Gaza Strip is affiliated with Hamas and who is not. In some cases no detailed intelligence information is needed.
For instance, months after the end of Operation Protective Edge, but more than two years before the security cabinet decision, the granddaughter of Ismail Haniyeh, a senior Hamas leader, received medical treatment in an Israeli hospital.
Would Hamas continue to hold on to the bodies of Hadar and Oron if its leaders knew that their children would be refused humanitarian aid in Israel? Perhaps. If they did, the suffering that would result to people like Haniyeh’s granddaughter would be Hamas’s doing, not Israel’s. And Gaza shares a border with Egypt, which has hospitals and doctors. They could always turn to Egypt for help.
The looming humanitarian crisis threatening Gaza’s residents due to a lack of potable water, sporadic electric supply and other woes is also the result of Hamas’s failed leadership. The discovery of a terror tunnel under the Kerem Shalom crossing to Israel is just the latest example of that.
Hamas should be forced to face the consequences of its actions, with the hope that sooner or later it will be forced to either change its ways or make room for a more pragmatic, more moderate and more responsible leadership that has Gazans’ interests in mind.
As long as Hamas terrorists behave inhumanely by insisting on holding on to the remains of Hadar and Oron and additional Israelis captives, they should not expect Israel to forgo the opportunity to put pressure on Hamas to either change its ways or to relinquish control and admit its failure.