The mother of a fallen IDF soldier whose remains are being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip criticized the government Monday for its ongoing initiative to reach a settlement with the terror group for an extended period of calm.
"The Israeli government, the security apparatus and the cabinet forgot that there are two soldiers still held in Gaza," Zehava Shaul told Ynet.
"I want my son back here and now."
The bodies of Shaul's son Oron and fellow IDF soldier Hadar Goldin have been held by Hamas after both were killed during Operation Protective Edge in 2014.
The families of the missing soldiers have been critical of Benjamin Netanyahu’s government in the past, saying it has not done enough to bring back the remains of their sons.
Most of the issues in the settlement have already been agreed upon by defense and government officials, with Netanyahu interested in inking the agreement before Israel goes to the polls on March 2.
The security cabinet met Sunday and was updated on the deal by National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat, who provided a rundown of the current communications channels with Hamas, mediated by Egypt.
The five-year agreement consists of a first phase in which Israel accepts the entry of some 5,000 Gazan laborers. The Shin Bet security service has however periodically objected to the renewed entry of Gazan workers.
In addition, Israel will approve relief to the Palestinians in Gaza in exchange for improvement in regional security.
This relief also includes an increase in the fishing zone in the enclave, the entry of goods and an increase in permits for Gazan merchants entering Israel from 5,000 to 6,000.
Hamas for its part will commit to ending rocket launches and sporadic gunfire along the border area and gradually halt the "March of Return" protests along the border fence.
Nonetheless, there are numerous omissions in the tentative agreement. As of now, there are no clauses within it to prevent Hamas from becoming more entrenched in Gaza, end their attempts to infiltrate into the West Bank or present a solution for the Israelis still held in the enclave.
"We have received no information that we are part of the deal and that angers us," said Zehava Shaul.
"They can call it whatever they want, I don't care. They need to know that two soldiers and two civilians have needed to be returned for five and a half years now. It's not a day-to-day matter where I can sit and wait for another week."
She added: "I don't know why the Israeli government is reluctant to bring them back. Israel will not go up in flames if they release 45 Palestinian prisoners, but at least I will know Oron's status.
"We know he was kidnapped alive and nobody could tell me anything for five and a half years."
First published: 22:52 , 12.30.19