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At UN, Israeli mother pleas for return of son’s remains held by Hamas

Leah Goldin, the mother of Israeli soldier Hadar Goldin whose remains are being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, addressed the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva on Monday.

In her remarks to the international body, Goldin called on its member states to change their policies on the Gaza Strip and take initiative to bring back the Israeli soldiers and civilians being held by Hamas in the terrorist enclave.

“Hadar was 23 years old. A gifted artist, he was engaged to be married to the love of his life, Edna, in [the] summer [of] 2014,” said Goldin. “But that August, hours after a U.N. ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, Hamas terrorists emerged from a tunnel in Gaza, ambushed an IDF unit and killed Hadar. For five years, Hamas has been holding our son and the remains of another soldier, Oron Shaul, refusing to release them, in flagrant violation of the Geneva Conventions and international humanitarian law.”

Hamas has “cruelly tormented our family,” for five years, she said, “denying Hadar a proper burial.”

She also pointed out that following the adoption of U.N. Resolution 2474, member nations had a greater responsibility so security her son’s return.

“In June, the Security Council adopted Resolution 2474 mandating all nations share responsibility to return the remains of missing persons in armed conflict and for U.N. special envoys to take this into account in implementing their mandates,” she said.

“Last month, I met Secretary-General António Guterres,” she added, “who reiterated [that] he stands behind the resolution calling to immediately and unconditionally release our son’s remains.”

She concluded by appealing to her audience as individuals, saying, “This is not my mission alone. It is a mission we all share. As mothers and fathers, please imagine just for a moment: What if this was your son?”

This summer marks five years since Hadar was killed by Hamas during Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge” in the Gaza Strip.