Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett has said that his policy of not returning the bodies of dead terrorists back to Hamas will help bring back the bodies of two IDF soldiers killed in 2014 during Operation Protective Edge.
“We have a moral and ethical obligation to bring them home, by pressuring Hamas by collecting terrorists’ bodies. There’s a lot of criticism, that it ‘doesn’t look good,’” he told participants at a Jerusalem Conference on Monday
“Stop mixing things up. There’s nothing more humane than collecting negotiating chips in order to bring our sons home,” he added.
Hadar Goldin was killed in 2014 amid a UN-brokered ceasefire during Operation Protective Edge. Since then, Hamas has refused to return his body, along with the body of IDF soldier Oron Shaul.
The terror group is also holding captive two mentally ill civilians, presumed to be alive, who crossed into Gaza on their own in 2014 and 2015 – Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed.
On Sunday, an Israeli bulldozer prevented the burial of a terrorist who tried to plant an explosive device along the Gaza border fence.
Since Bennett took over the defense portfolio in November 2019, the IDF has been holding onto the bodies of 10 terrorists with the intention of using them as leverage in future negotiations.