Tzlil Turgeman, a reservist medic from the Givati reconnaissance battalion which fought back Hamas terrorists who killed Hadar Goldin and took his body into captivity, blasted Israel’s reconciliation deal with Turkey, saying that the agreement abandoned those being held by Hamas and wasted a “golden opportunity” for their return.
“About two years ago we took part in a difficult war, [as part of] Operation Protective Edge. All of us left behind families to go out and defend our people and our country, and all of us went in there with the understanding that we might not come back alive,” Turgeman told Arutz Sheva.
“We went out [to fight] based on a faith in the system, and if called upon we would do it again.”
Israel, which has concluded months of negotiations to restore relations with Turkey after six years of diplomatic tensions, has agreed to provide $20 million in compensation for the families of Turkish terrorists killed after they attacked IDF soldiers in 2010.
Yet the reconciliation deal includes no binding requirement for Turkey to pressure the Hamas terror group to free two Israeli captives held in the Gaza Strip, or return the bodies of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, killed in 2014. Turkey, which has formal ties with the Hamas terror organization, is estimated to exert strong influence over the group.
Turgeman criticized the decision, calling on the Israeli government to insist Turkey force Hamas to return all Israelis held in captivity, including the two fallen soldiers.
“We understand that there is a golden opportunity here to make Hamas pay a price and demand the return of the bodies.”
“They fought hard, because [they knew] that if God forbid something happened to them, they would be brought back and buried in Israel. All this time they [the government] assured the families that any negotiations on the Gaza blockade would include a provision requiring the return of their sons.”
“But suddenly last Thursday this provision disappeared from the agreement. We need to demand this condition from Hamas: if you want humanitarian aid, give back the bodies of Hadar and Oron. There is a golden opportunity here to put a price on Turkey’s assistance, which helps Hamas – and they need to take steps to bring back the two soldiers. This is a one-time opportunity for the State of Israel.”