Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tel Aviv has resorted to seeking help from foreign countries to bring back prisoners of war held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Speaking during the annual memorial state ceremony held in Jerusalem yesterday, Netanyahu told families of fallen soldiers who are still missing that the process which is being carried out in secrecy includes discovering the fate of all the soldiers since the 1948 Nakba until the recent war on Gaza Strip in 2014.
“We will not give up on returning our soldiers even if this holy mission continues for decades,” he said, adding that professional organisations have been assigned this task and that many resources have been allocated to them.
“Right now we are working with foreign governments to track down our soldiers. I include in that all soldiers who have gone missing since the War of Independence [the Nakba], from Ron Arad to Oron Shaul. We will continue to make every effort to bring our boys home, and we will continue taking actions – some of which cannot be talked about – to do so,” Netanyahu said.
Israel says it lost four soldiers during its 2014 “Operation Protective Edge” against the Gaza Strip. It believes two of them, an officer and a soldier, were killed, but Hamas refuses to reveal their fate.
Hamas demands the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails in return for any information about the four soldiers.
Egypt is reported to be mediating between Israel and Hamas to broker a new prisoner swap deal.