Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul was killed along with six other soldiers on July 20, when his armored personnel carrier was struck in eastern Gaza. Lt. Hadar Goldin, an officer in the Givati Brigade, was killed on August 1 during an operation to locate Hamas tunnels near Rafah. The remains of both were captured during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014.
In an effort by Hamas to pressure the Israeli government to make a deal for the release of Shaul’s remains, Hamas released videos on Saturday that mocked Oron Shaul whose body the terrorist group has held since 2014.
The first video shows the face of Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul superimposed on an actor. He is bound and sits cowering in front of a birthday cake with three candles, signifying three years that his body has been held by Hamas. Shaul’s face is seen singing with a thick Arabic accent “Happy Birthday to You” in Hebrew. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dressed up as a clown comes into his room and blows out the candles. The video ends with text saying, “The decision is in the government’s hands” an apparent attempt to goad the Israeli government into negotiating for the return of Shaul’s body.
The second video shows a birthday party with soldiers singing happy birthday in Hebrew with a heavy Arab accent, with a cake saying “Happy birthday 3 years in Hamas captivity”.
Evidently Hamas is getting frustrated as this past Sunday evening they blasted the Israeli government over its decision not to return the bodies of Hamas terrorists killed carrying out terrorist attacks. But Israel decided to toughen its stance and work out a new plan of action to bring back Israeli soldiers and civilians held captive by Hamas in Gaza.
Hamas stated that the Security Cabinet decision is “vindictive and barbaric”, warning that, “These decisions will not give positive results”.
Hamas is also believed to be holding Avraham (Avera) Mengistu, an Ethiopian Jew who was suffering from mental health problems when he wandered unarmed across the border to Gaza. He has not been heard from since. Hamas says Israel would have to “pay the price” for Mengistu, Goldin, Shaul and a Bedouin who went missing in Gaza as well to be released.
In November, IDF human resources chief Maj. Gen. Hagai Topolanski stated that there was no progress in efforts to retrieve Shaul and Goldin. “I hope it happens quickly, in our days,” Topolanski said, “But right now I don’t see a breakthrough happening.”
Israel released over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in October 2011, many of them convicted on terror-related charges, to secure the release of Cpl. Gilad Shalit, who was captured in a cross-border raid by Hamas in 2006. Quite a few resumed the terrorist activities, some were killed and some were recaptured and put back in prison.
Hamas apparently was hoping for more prisoners to be released and they are frustrated that it isn’t happening. So that explains their recent videos and statements.
See second video here