‘MIAs, Mengistu will be discussed in Turkey talks’

Minister of Internal Security says Gaza MIAs will come up in discussions with Turkey, but makes no promise.

Nitsan Kedar ,

Gilad Erdan
Gilad Erdan
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

As Israel prepares to sign a deal with Turkey normalizing relations between the countries, the relatives of the IDF MIAs and the Israeli citizen being held by Hamas have been demanding that any deal include repatriation of their loved ones.

Minister of Internal Security Gilad Erdan said Sunday morning that the ministers who are members of the Security Cabinet have received a briefing on the details of the agreement being crafted with Turkey. He opined that the matter of the MIAs – Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin – and Abera Mengistu, who crossed over into Gaza, will come up in the discussions.

“I believe that the subjects related to the bodies of the soldiers and the citizens who are being held inside the [Gaza] Strip will be raised by the Israeli team,” he told reporters before the government’s weekly session. “In any case, I believe that Wednesday, in the Cabinet meeting, we will receive a briefing on this, and every minister will be able to determine his position regarding the deal.”

Erdan noted that he has met with the families of the two MIAs and of Mengistu more than once. “Today, too, I stopped and met the members of the Mengistu family. I understand their pain and suffering. I expect that the Israeli team will raise the subject of the citizens and the soldiers’ bodies being held there, since the government of Turkey is raising the subject of the humanitarian needs of the residents of Gaza, and the citizens of Israel are certainly no less important.

“We are committed to do everything to take care of them and return them to the state of Israel,” he averred.

When asked if he would vote against a deal that does not include the MIAs, he replied diplomatically: “I will expect to hear what came up and what the Turkish government’s reaction was. I will take into account all of the conditions in this agreement, as well as the Israeli interest to normalize relations with Turkey and bring them back to what we had in the past.”