Five years on, mother of soldier slain in Gaza still fighting for son’s remains
UN Testimony of Dr. Leah Goldin
My name is Leah Goldin.  I am the mother of Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, a proud soldier in the Israel Defense Forces.
Hadar was 23 years old. A gifted artist, he was engaged to be married to the love of his life, Edna, in summer 2014.
But that August, hours after a UN 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.
For five years, Hamas has cruelly tormented our family, denying Hadar a proper burial and Red Cross access.
In June, the Security Council adopted Resolution 2474, mandating that all nations share responsibility for the return of the remains of missing persons in armed conflict and for  UN special envoys to take this into account in implementing their mandates.
Last month, I met Secretary-General Guterres, who reiterated he stands behind this resolution, calling to immediately and unconditionally release our son’s remains.
This is not my mission alone – it a mission we all share.
Today, I ask members of this Council: As mothers and fathers, please imagine just for a moment…
What if this was your son?
Thank you.
Leah Goldin Meets Red Cross, Diplomats

During the recent 42nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, UN Watch invited the mother of Hadar Goldin to address the plenary, to speak at a break-out session sponsored by UN Watch (see video below) and attended by diplomats and human rights activists, and to meet with ambassadors and international humanitarian officials.
Hosted for the diplomatic meetings by Israeli Ambassador Aviva Raz Schechter, Dr. Leah Goldin was able to meet with the International Committee of the Red Cross, which has been repeatedly denied access to Hadar’s body.
She also met with diplomats from Austria, Italy, Australia, the United States, and the European Union, whose mission then tweeted out the following:

“Ambassador Stevens heard the moving story of the parents of Hadar Goldin. The bodies of fallen and captives held in Gaza have to be returned to their families. As we work to address the humanitarian situation in Gaza this humanitarian issue is not to be forgotten. No parents should suffer this.”

The mother of Hadar Goldin was accompanied on the trip by attorney Arsen Ostrovsky of the Israeli-Jewish Congress, a leading advocate in the campaign.

Leah Goldin’s visit featured in article by Agence France-Presse
Thanks to UN Watch, Goldin’s visit to Geneva and UN testimony were reported worldwide by several media including Agence France-Presse. See article below.

Israeli soldiers mother asks world to help repatriate remains from Gaza
Geneva (AFP) – The mother of an Israeli soldier killed in Gaza in 2014 demanded Monday international action to bring him home, suggesting aid to the enclave should be contingent on Hamas returning his remains.
Leah Goldin gave an emotional appeal to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, lamenting that Hamas had “cruelly tormented our family” for five years by denying her son a proper burial.
Lieutenant Hadar Goldin was 23 when he was killed in August 2014, shortly after a UN-backed ceasefire was declared in the Gaza war between Israel and Hamas…
Goldin’s remains and those of another soldier killed in the war, Oron Shaul, are believed to be in the hands of Hamas, the Islamist movement governing the Palestinian enclave.
Two Israeli civilians — both reputed to be mentally unstable — are also believed to be in Hamas custody after entering the blockaded Gaza Strip.
“For five years, Hamas has been holding our son… in flagrant violation of Geneva Conventions and international humanitarian law,” Leah Goldin told the council, urging members to “please imagine just for a moment: what if this was your son?”
Goldin, who was invited by the non-governmental organisation UN Watch to take its allotted spot and briefly address the council during a general debate, voiced hope that the passage of a Security Council resolution in June could mark a turning point.
Resolution 2474 states that nations are jointly responsible for ensuring the prompt return of people who go missing during armed conflict, and urges UN special envoys to make the issue a priority.
“This is a huge development. It really marks a paradigm shift,” Goldin told AFP, insisting that it means returning the missing, both dead and alive, should be an obligatory “confidence-building” step at the start of any negotiations to end a conflict.
And, she said, donors currently meeting in New York to discuss aid projects for Gaza should make the aid contingent on Hamas releasing her son’s remains.
“There should be no more blank checks” to Hamas, she said, insisting though that she was very much in favour of aid going to Gaza, whose some two million inhabitants are heavily dependent on international assistance.
“I would like to see Gaza like Singapore,” she said, stressing though that “the first thing to do is to return my son and Oron, and hostages as a confidence building step”.
Goldin said she felt she and her family had made great progress in advocating for the release of her son’s remains, including through a meeting with UN chief Antonio Guterres last month.
But, she said: “I feel so small sometimes… I need the world’s help.”


UN Watch