Avigdor Liberman
Avigdor LibermanHezki Baruch

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman commented today on the stormy debate around a Channel 10 report, in which he purportedly said he would not cut a deal with Hamas for the release of the bodies of fallen soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin.

At an event at the pre-military "mechina" academy Karm al-Badlit al-Carmel, Liberman turned to a Channel 10 journalist, and told him, "What you aired about soldiers' bodies was never said, neither in open meetings nor closed ones."

"I voted against the Shalit deal, and I think I was right," he continued. "I see how many [of the released terrorists] went back to being terrorists, how many were complicit in murder."

"However - our first obligation is to return [the bodies of the soldiers]," Liberman continued. "And the second is not to exaggerate."

Liberman got into hot water when he supposedly claimed on August 29 that he would not trade with Hamas over the bodies of Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin. Shaul and Goldin were killed in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, and Hamas has been holding their bodies ransom in the hope that Israel would release live terrorists in exchange for them, as they did when they traded 1,027 terrorists for captured soldier Gilad Shalit.

When they heard the supposed statement, the bereaved Goldin family responded, "The Defense Minister, who is choosing to give up on...the return of the soldiers from the field of battle, has no moral authority to continue and direct as Defense Minister of the State of Israel. We call on the Prime Minister to clarify, both to the Defense Minister and the Israeli public, the government's position in relation to the return home of Hadar and Oron."

On Wednesday, though, the Goldins seemingly went back on their statement, considering that there are other means available than selling soldiers for terrorists.

"We can't get caught up in the concept of 'the price of freeing terrorists' because that's [the whole heart of the problem]."

Regarding the Shalit deal, Leah Goldin, Hadar's mother, said, "We as a family didn't like the idea at all because it was a complete surrender on the part of the State of Israel to the extortion of Hamas."