Cabinet to Discuss Ceasefire Proposal; Shaul, Goldin Families Press for Son’s Return
By TPS • 5 August, 2018
The security cabinet will meet Sunday to discuss an Israel-Hamas ceasefire proposal by United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov. But family members of Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, two IDF soldiers who were killed in the 2014 Operation Protective Edge but whose bodies have been held since by Hamas, said they would continue to press the government to ensure that the return of their sons’ remains is included in any deal.
Mladenov’s proposal calls for UN and Egyptian negotiators to broker “understandings” between Israel and the Hamas leadership, as well as a complete cessation of cross-border attacks from Gaza, including a halt to incendiary kites and balloons. The draft agreement calls for Israel to open border crossings, expand the list of items that are permitted into the Strip and easing of the naval blockade in order to ease restrictions on Palestinian fishermen.
The cabinet deliberations will take place following strikes over the weekend on two separate groups of Palestinians near the Gaza-Israel border fence that had launched arson kites at Israel. In all, firefighters responded Saturday to 10 fires caused by aerial arson attacks, but a military official told the Israel Broadcast Corporation (Kan) that the IDF had refrained from attacks on individuals launching arson kites and/or balloons for eight days, under instructions from the political echelon to act with discretion so as not to hurt the chances of success in the negotiations on reaching an arrangement with Hamas.
The cabinet deliberations also take place under the shadow of a public letter, published on Friday, by the families of Shaul and Goldin, demanding that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu resist pressure to make a deal that does not include the return of the fallen soldiers’ remains, as well as the safe return of two Israeli civilians who accidentally crossed the border from Israel into Gaza.
“Any agreement that doesn’t include the return of Oron, Hadar, Abera and the other civilians will not be worth the paper it is printed on,” the letter said. “An agreement without bringing our boys home is document of surrender that would indicate, and continue to indicate, our country’s weakness. It would give energy to our enemies to break the agreement from time to time without penalty.
“Mr. Prime Minister, you and we know the truth – if you were acting with a clear conscience, a pure heart and without extraneous considerations such as electoral considerations and a political agenda- our boys would have returned home a long time ago. The abandonment of our soldiers and civilians is a mark of shame for our country,” the families wrote.