Minister Katz to PA counterpart: First return Hadar and Oron

Welfare Minister Chaim Katz meets with PA Labor Minister: 'Palestinian workers need decent living, but first we want the boys back.'

Mordechai Sones ,

Joint meeting
Joint meeting
Avi Hayoun, Foreign Ministry

Labor and Social Affairs Minister Chaim Katz met yesterday with his Palestinian Authority counterpart, PA Labor Minister Mamoun Abu-Shahla.

The meeting was held with mediation and participation of the German Ambassador to Israel, Dr. Clemens von Goetze.

During the meeting, Minister Katz told his PA counterpart, "Bring Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul to Israel for burial. We must build trust and cooperation, and everything must begin with their return to Israel."

Hours after the declaration of the internationally brokered cease-fire during the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict Operation Protective Edge, Hamas disregarded their own agreement and murdered Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, dragging his body deep into one of Gaza's underground tunnels.

Oron Shaul’s armored personnel carrier (APC) was hit by Hamas terrorists on July 20, 2014, during Operation Protective Edge. All the soldiers on the APC were killed, and his body was abducted during the resulting melee.

The mutually agreed-upon meeting between the ministers took place under German mediation, following efforts of Minister Katz to eradicate work accidents in the construction industry.

His PA counterpart's request was to improve working conditions of the 150,000 Arab workers who come to work in Israel.

The PA minister spoke about difficulties at crossings, lack of proper contracts with contractors, and unofficial work permits that lead to exploitation of the workers.

Minister Katz said "the parties can cooperate and increase awareness and guidance for the Palestinian workers," but as a first step of cooperation, Minister Katz demanded the Palestinian side "return the bodies of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul to Israel."

"On the eve of the Festival of Freedom, everyone wants the return of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul's bodies for burial. Palestinian workers have to earn a decent living and return home safely, and the issue of the crossings and pension rights can be improved. But first we want the boys back."