Yaalon: Include missing soldiers in Turkey accords

Defense Minister insists Hamas return bodies of soldiers killed in Protective Edge as part of reconciliation deal with Turkey.

Matt Wanderman,

Moshe Ya'alon
Moshe Ya'alon
Flash 90

Political leaders have been holding internal discussions about Israel and Turkey reconciling their relations. According to reports, during the talks, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon (Likud) argued that the reconciliation process should include the return of Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin's bodies.

The two soldiers were killed during 2014's Operation Protective Edge, and Hamas has refused to return them to Israel for burial.

Ha'aretz reports that an anonymous senior official shared the comments, noting that the Yaalon was only of the only ministers to suggest qualifications to signing an agreement with Ankara. It also claimed that the Defense Minister has proposed a number of issues to tie to an agreement over the past year, including that Turkey deport a senior member of Hamas's military wing.

The official believes that the Yaalon's concerns are a leading cause for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's hesitation in moving forward with the reconciliation.

The minister's office has not commented on the issue.

Relations between Israel and Turkey have been upset since the 2010 flotilla to Gaza attempted to break through Israel's blockade. World attention focused on the Mavi Marmara, where passengers attacked IDF commandos with knives and metal pipes. Ten soldiers were injured, while ten passengers were killed.

Turkey's Islamist government is close to Hamas, hence Yaalon's tying the two issues.