News / Middle East

Israel: Missing Soldier Killed in Action

An Israeli soldier on a tank in a staging area near the Israel-Gaza border, Aug. 2, 2014.
An Israeli soldier on a tank in a staging area near the Israel-Gaza border, Aug. 2, 2014.
VOA News

The Israeli army says it has determined that the 23-year-old soldier it earlier said was captured by Hamas on Friday was killed in action.

An army spokesman says its chief rabbi determined Second Lieutenant Hadar Goldin is dead and personally delivered the news to his family.

The army initially said Hamas fighters abducted Goldin when a suicide bomber attacked Israeli soldiers dismantling a tunnel near Rafah Friday.

That attack left two other Israeli soldiers dead and ended a cease-fire after a little more than one hour.

The army statement Saturday said Goldin "was killed in battle in the Gaza Strip on Friday."

Hamas has never confirmed it was holding Goldin.

The Israeli military statement was issued hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israeli troops would finish the job of destroying Hamas tunnels and then redeploy according to Israel's security needs.

Netanyahu said Israel has already destroyed dozens of tunnels Hamas used to smuggle weapons and fighters from Gaza and into Israeli territory. 

He also said hundreds of Hamas militants have been killed since Israel launched its ground and air operations almost a month ago.

Televised address

In an address in Tel Aviv, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warns Hamas will 'pay an intolerable price' if it continues firing rockets at Israel, on Aug 2, 2014.In an address in Tel Aviv, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warns Hamas will 'pay an intolerable price' if it continues firing rockets at Israel, on Aug 2, 2014.
In an address in Tel Aviv, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warns Hamas will 'pay an intolerable price' if it continues firing rockets at Israel, on Aug 2, 2014.
In an address in Tel Aviv, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warns Hamas will 'pay an intolerable price' if it continues firing rockets at Israel, on Aug 2, 2014.

In a televised address Saturday, the prime minister warned that Hamas will pay an "intolerable" price if it fails to stop rocket attacks on Israel. He also stressed that Israel has nothing against the "peaceful citizens of Gaza," saying he is very sorry for each civilian killed or wounded and encouraging international support to help rebuild Gaza.

“We will take as much time as necessary and will exert as much force as needed,” he said in a televised address Saturday.

Netanyahu’s comments came on the same day Israel announced it would not send envoys to planned truce talks this weekend in Egypt, after accusing Hamas of violating what was to have been a three-day cease-fire beginning Friday morning.

The planned cease-fire fell apart Friday, with Israel accusing Hamas of killing two of its soldiers and capturing one in a morning ambush near Gaza's southern town of Rafah. Second Lieutenant Hadar Goldin was among Israeli soldiers dismantling a tunnel. Barely 90 minutes after the cease-fire took effect, Israel's military said, a suicide bomber attacked and gunfight broke out. The two soldiers were killed and Goldin went missing.

Netanyahu said the Jewish state "will continue doing everything" to bring the missing soldier home.

The prime minister warned Hamas will pay an "intolerable" price if it fails to end attacks on Israel from Gaza.

He promised Israeli ctizens the military would "bring back calm and order ... no matter how much time" and effort it would take. He thanked them for "resiliance and unity."

The prime minister apologized to Gaza's Palestinian civilians on behalf of Israelis. Saying "we have nothing against the citizens of Gaza," Netanyahu encouraged the international community "to help and support the rebuilding of Gaza." 

Netanyahu thanked United States and European leaders for their support, specifically praising U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry for defending Israel's "right to destroy missiles and tunnels." The comment seemed aimed at defusing some of the criticism leveled at the secretary over rocky peace efforts. 

Meanwhile, thousands of demonstrators marched in front of the White House Saturday to show their opposition to nearly four weeks of violence in Gaza.

Some demonstrators denounced U.S. funding for Israel and criticized Obama's assertion that the Jewish state has a right to self-defense, and others carried mock coffins to represent Palestinians killed in Gaza.

Fighting continues

Earlier Saturday, Israel bombarded Rafah as its troops continued to search for the missing officer.

A member of the Abed Aal family salvages belongings from his family's house destroyed in an overnight Israeli strike in Gaza City, Aug. 2, 2014.A member of the Abed Aal family salvages belongings from his family's house destroyed in an overnight Israeli strike in Gaza City, Aug. 2, 2014.
A member of the Abed Aal family salvages belongings from his family's house destroyed in an overnight Israeli strike in Gaza City, Aug. 2, 2014.
A member of the Abed Aal family salvages belongings from his family's house destroyed in an overnight Israeli strike in Gaza City, Aug. 2, 2014.

Palestinian health officials said at least 35 people were killed in the shelling in and around Rafah, while fresh airstrikes across Gaza destroyed dozens of houses. Gaza Islamic University was also hit hard by Israeli attacks.

The Hamas military wing said it has no knowledge of the missing Israeli soldier's whereabouts. It said he likely was killed in an Israeli strike, along with the Hamas fighters who took part in the ambush. In a statement, Hamas said it had lost contact with its fighters.

Tunnel demolition nears completion

The military has nearly reached its goal of demolishing tunnels used by Hamas fighters to enter and infiltrate Israel, its spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner, said Saturday. He said 31 tunnels have been blown up so far.

"Our understanding is that our objectives, most importantly the destruction of the tunnels, are close to completion," Reuters quoted Lerner. 

Also Saturday, Israel said it was safe for evacuees of Beit Lahia, a northern Gaza town of 70,000, to return to their homes. But the military advised residents "to beware of explosive devices Hamas has spread across the area," Reuters reported.

An unnamed Israeli official told the Associated Press that the military's message that Beit Lahia residents could return was "a signal that things are pretty much being wrapped up."

But armored vehicles still on the town's periphery made residents more wary of returning, Reuters said.

"No one has told us to go back," it quoted Taleb Manna, 30, who'd taken his family to a United Nations-run school doubling as a shelter. "We can't risk going back and being bombed by the Israeli forces."

After nearly a month of bombardment by the Israeli military, Gaza has become unrecognizable to Palestinians returning home after years in Israeli jails. Talking to the French news agency AFP, one man from the town of Deir al-Balah described the destruction as "a real shock."

Peace talks to continue

The Israeli cabinet had an exceptionally long and rare Friday night session to discuss the missing soldier.

While it decided against sending envoys to Cairo, diplomatic efforts were to continue this weekend there with representatives of some of the conflict's other various factions.

Reuters said representatives of the Palestine Liberation Organization, along with exiled officials of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad militant group, were expected to participate in the talks.

"We are still continuing these [diplomatic] efforts with everyone, with all sides," Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi told journalists Saturday.

His country's proposed cease-fire represented the best way forward, Sissi said, adding it would aid negotiations to end "the violence and the killing and the bloodshed in Gaza."   

Israel demands that Gaza be demilitarized and that Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli territory stop, while the Palestinians insist Israel and Egypt end their blockades of Gaza, which have strangled the Gazan economy and keep Palestinians from traveling.

Escalating death toll

The fighting has been costly to Palestinians and Israelis alike. Since Israel began its offensive July 8 to halt rockets fired by Hamas and other militants, more than than 1,650 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed, Gaza health officials said. Israel has lost 63 soldiers and three civilians - a greater toll than in its 2006 war with Lebanon, the Associated Press reported.

The death toll includes at least 296 Palestinian youngsters, the United Nations said Saturday.

U.N. children's agency UNICEF has counted 187 boys and 109 girls killed, with at least 203 under age 12. The agency expects the count to rise, AFP said, because these were only the deaths verified to date.

Hospitals in Gaza were overwhelmed with wounded after 26 days of fighting, said the head of a network of Palestinian civic groups, Amjad Shawa.

"All Gaza is under attack. The humanitarian conditions are catastrophic due to the continuous Israeli air strikes [and] artillery bombardment in different areas of Gaza Strip,” Shawa said. “Most of the targets are civil premises."

He said humanitarian groups are unable to feed or provide health care to the estimated 400,000 Palestinians displaced by the conflict.

United Nations humanitarian officials on Saturday warned of a widespread health disaster in the Gaza Strip unless the ongoing fighting stops immediately, criticizing the lack of protection for Gaza-based doctors and medical facilities, calling the region's medical services are on the verge of collapse.

American support for Israel

Obama has called on Hamas to immediately and unconditionally free the soldier to show that Hamas is serious about trying to resolve the situation in Gaza.

At a news conference Friday, Obama repeated that Israel has a right to defend itself from Hamas rockets and attacks. But he called the deaths of Palestinian civilians heartbreaking and said everything must be done to protect them.

Late Friday, U.S. Congress approved $225 million in emergency funding to help resupply Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system, sending the measure to Obama to be signed into law. The House vote was 395 to 8.

An Israeli website said Saturday the Iron Dome system intercepted several rockets not long after Hamas said it had fired three rockets at Tel Aviv.

VOA's Scott Bobb contributed to this report from the Gaza Strip. The AP, AFP and Reuters also contributed.

Broken Cease-fire Ends Gazans’ Brief Respite from War (video)

Broken Cease-fire Ends Gazans’ Brief Respite from Wari
Scott Bobb
August 02, 2014 1:52 PM
Israel and Hamas fighters in Gaza have declared an end to their short-lived cease-fire -- with each side accusing the other of breaking the accord. Before that occurred, Gazans enjoyed a few hours of peace and they took advantage of it. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.


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Comment Sorting
Comments page of 3
by: elizabeth davidson from: st louis
August 03, 2014 8:54 AM
Golda Meir, "Peace will come when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us." Benjamin Netanyahu, "We are using missile defense to protect our citizens, and they're using their civilians to protect their missiles."
In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
August 03, 2014 6:14 PM
The Israeli fear of fighting Hamas in a ground war, is why Israel is killing the Palestinian civilians, (and it's not Hamas hiding behind civilians), it's the "excuse" the Israeli's use to sit back at a safe distance and bombard little tiny Gaza with every weapon they have, destroy everything, and killing everybody they can, (and), the Israeli's cowardice is why they killed all those Palestinians..... (The world was watching, wasn't it?).

The whole world and Israeli's enemies saw what happened, when Israel with the greatest military in the Middle East, with over 50,000 Israeli troops, were afraid to fight (2) to (3) thousand Hamas militant fighters on the ground in little tiny Gaza, (and now), Israel has "forever" lost that myth of invincibility, and Hamas is becoming legendary in the Arab world, (and the Hamas legend grows), while this showing of Israeli cowardice will be remembered forever?

by: The great from: USA
August 03, 2014 7:49 AM
Israeli atrocity and war crime against humanity by killing mostly civilian .
In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
August 03, 2014 7:52 PM
Did you really think Israel would fight a ground war with little tiny Hamas, and most probably get their butts kicked, (or), do they think it's far better to sit back in safety, and kill the Palestinians with every weapon they have from a safe distance?..... (That's how Israel fights wars)... (and Hamas is still there, undefeated and defiant, and becoming legendary), and the legend is growing, and Israeli's enemies now know how Israeli's fights, or won't fight in wars....

by: Thom H from: USA
August 03, 2014 7:27 AM
Oops. Sorry about breaking the ceasefire for the wrong reason. Who is to blame now for the coffee break in a 72 hour ceasefire? Is it still Hamas?

by: Cosmicjoker from: İstanbul
August 02, 2014 10:33 PM
Federal goverment of u.s must establish centralbank in washington dc and print new american dollar as valued much fortnox gold. Then we Will see whose the boss. George Washington's great country must rise up again. The people always win. Not the nations.

by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
August 02, 2014 9:28 PM
Listen Here, I am begging your for the sake of the Gazan people,Your rally for ceasefire. When we started this conversation on VOA, I warn your about Israel fire power. I study about Israeli history, Past, Present and Future history. Israel is surrounded by Arab nations, They are seeing their fellow Arabs dying, Why they cannot come together and defeat this Israel? if those people could have fight Israel, they would have don't it. Iran that hate Israel so much, why Iran seeing those people dying and she cannot?Iran doesnt have respect for international law, Let Iran help the Gazan people, Iran knows when she strikes Israel what will happen to Tehran. Qatar that supports all those terrorist groups, why Qatar cannot liberate the Palestinians? Qatar knows what will happen to her. I am tell your let us pray for peace. Cause not, there will be no Gaza. I am telling your. If your can make a phone call to President Obama, please do so, let there be a guanine ceasefire. and let UN, NATO, and some other countries put together and sent their troops to the Middle East, create a buffer zone at the border between Gaza and Israel. Those troops are there to enforce peace, not keep peace. I am telling your, that is the only way we will have peace in that region for a long time. Even Russia cannot strike Israel right now, cuz the same weapon Russia has, Israel also have them. Russia will have to think twice before she can strike Israel. Israel have the fourth strongest military in the world, do you actually think Israel will sit there and some rebel group remove them from their land? Everyone of you that think that way, has lost your mind. So let us just find a way that we can bring peace to that region. I am very sorry for the death of those innocent people, But at the same token Hamas is at fault for the death of those people. Hamas knows she cannot fight Israel, why are they firing into Israel? Let Qatar and Iran fight their own war with Israel, not you Hamas. You are close to Israel, Israel will destroy you.

by: Kafantaris from: Warren, Ohio
August 02, 2014 9:20 PM
The belated acknowledgement that the "abducted" Israeli soldier was in fact killed, confirms that Netanyahu has been playing the United States "like a harp from Hell!"

by: Ali from: Canada
August 02, 2014 8:53 PM
Yes we know it and this one sided media never gonna put our voices but now really we not need to show us .muslims around the world were targeted . Not posting my 2 comments is satisfing me what type of media is it. We know it know its not gonna stop isreal just started and going to expand its borders but we will finish it by the grace of Allah this biggest ouccupied land terrorisum and will give the peace to the world.every voice is rising against muslims and when we call natenyahoo terrorists you people not post it so yes go and ask the millions and yrillions if muslim families whoes family members were killed in Afghanistan iraq syria. Pakistan .phalisteane burma who is terrorist.Allah ho akbar. When there is no justice soon then street people do the justice.o muslim dont be afraid of this natenyaho terrorist .natenyahoo openly said infront of h.clinton he will do more civilian cadualties. But i happy when i read Muhammad peace be up on him.words that every stone will tell you here is jewish and then you will kill them.remember who is supporting by keeping silence and not taking action against isrealean occupied terrorist counsil he is terrorist to.when jewish are not rising the voice against army .then they are with them or they should stop by hand there army if not then they aree there army to.

by: wavettore from: USA
August 02, 2014 8:18 PM
Gaza will be first occupied to then become part of the Greater State of Israel. It’s all written.

“9/11 ("false flag" attack planned by Bush & co.).

7/7 "false flag" in London (Blair seals the Pact with Bush).

The War in Iraq

The next expansion of the territory of Israel.

The future collapse of the World financial system.

All these are not individual events but instead part of the Zionist Plan.

First of its kind, this worldwide crisis was provoked through a terror event (9/11) plotted by a US president, George Bush, in cahoots with the Israeli Mossad. This event was plotted to destabilize the equilibrium in all Countries and trigger a chain of events almost unavoidable all of them part of the same Plan.

With Jeb Bush, future US president, we will see that many simultaneous rebellions stirred up in Arab Countries will benefit in the end only the State of Israel with the expansion of its territory while in Europe and in the US, the financial resources "like magic" will disappear through bailouts, tax cuts and elaborated emergency maneuvers which will be ruled only to appear beneficial for those Countries but instead appositely designed for their collapse (except for England that will push Europe over the precipice).

The old economy will get to the last stop. The internet instead will have its plug pulled.

Massive poverty will bring chaos and anarchy while the lack of effective governments will set the stage for one World Tyranny.

It will be just from chaos that one voice will rise with the promise to fix all and everyone. As Humankind will be most vulnerable and confused, agents on payroll of the New World Order will take command in each Country by promising the "moon" or stealing that command with fixed elections. In the end, all of them will be dictators, one for each Country, at the same time servants of one "chosen people".

The only alternative is from the certainty of this clear Direction.

Once revolutions will have occurred all over the World they soon need to be coordinated.

Worldwide Referendum broadcasted Live simultaneously on large screens in the squares of all Countries could answer specific questions selected to decide what type of Democracy will exist in a new Humankind. This could be the beginning of a new form of government: Commutalism.

To oppose the Zionist Plan it will take one single Front (and not many fragmented) that must be coordinated among the many Countries before it is put into action with strategic timing.

The Conflict should be defined from the beginning only pro or against Equality. Not one Country vs another Country. Not Eastern vs Western block. None of the kind. Only pro or against Equality.

The battle to win is at its roots.

The final result must be a World united and without borders that outplays the strategy: Divide and Conquer.

In Response

by: Genesis from: Earth
August 02, 2014 10:11 PM
Using Al-Taqiyya serves no justice. The evil actions of Hamas are undeniable.
In Response

by: Awake from: USA
August 02, 2014 9:42 PM
Yeah!!!!! Glad to see someone is AWAKE. GOOD JOB.

by: Kal from: Australia
August 02, 2014 8:16 PM
Every one knew this was a media propaganda and the soldier was killed when is Israel broke the cease fire(as usual). This is another stupid justification for Israel to continue its systematic ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.
In Response

by: Genesis from: Earth
August 02, 2014 10:55 PM
Until your vessel has a base it won't hold water.

by: meanbill from: USA
August 02, 2014 7:48 PM
THE KIDNAPPING of the Israeli soldier is a HOAX, and either he is dead, or by some miracle he will be found alive later, (because), the killing of those (15) kids in a UN schoolyard was forcing the Israeli's into ceasefire peace negotiations that they weren't ready for, (and because), the Israeli's weren't finished punishing and killing, the unarmed Palestinian civilians for voting for Hamas, the foresworn enemy of Israel..

PICTURE how the Israeli "kidnap hoax story" changed public opinions, with the US and western news media overwhelming the news reporting as it being truthful..... (the US has Hollywood and the western news media, to change the publics focus of the Palestinian civilian massacre, to the "kidnapping hoax story" made up by Israel).....

Paul Watson the co-founder of Greenpeace "quote" said it;... It doesn't matter what's really true, it only matters what people believe is true"..... (and these people can make the devil sound like God, and make God sound like the devil), and the only way to know who's telling the truth, is by judging them by their actions, like the atrocities and massacres they commit on the innocents..... (Do you really believe that Israeli soldier was kidnapped?).

NEVER in modern history has a country committed the atrocities, massacres and war crimes on innocent civilians, like the Israeli's have done on the Palestinians, who have lived under the brutal apartheid occupation of Israel since 1967, and the Palestinians are revolting, and they'll keep revolting until they get justice, or the other Arabs rise up to defend the Palestinians......
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