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Families of Israelis Held by Hamas Protest Netanyahu’s Policy | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Journalists and reporters gather at the Israeli southern port of Ashdod as Lady Leyla, a humanitarian aid ship sent from Turkey to the Gaza Strip, arrives to the port on July 3, 2016. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ

Ramallah-The families of three Israelis held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip staged a protest at Karm Abu Salem crossing as an initial shipment of thousands of tons of Turkish aid was set to be transferred via the checkpoint.

The families voiced outrage that their sons remain in captivity while Israel provides 1,000 trucks of humanitarian aid daily to the beleaguered Palestinian territory, including the Turkish shipment.

“There’s nothing more humanitarian than releasing our captive sons, and in exchange bestowing benefits to Gaza,” the mother of Sgt. Oron Shaul, Zahava Shaul, said. “It’s unacceptable to act unilaterally and it’s unacceptable that they continue to neglect the soldiers held in Gaza for two years, since Operation Protective Edge. We’re not against the deal or aid to Gaza in general, but we believe that the deal is an opportunity to free our sons. In order for that to happen the government and its prime minister must ensure that this condition will be a central part of the deal,” she continued.

Shaul is one of two soldiers whom Hamas announced it has seized but Israel claimed them dead and then missing.

Last week, the families met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has repeatedly promised to do everything possible for the Israelis in Gaza and appealed to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to intervene.

The prime minister also stressed that Turkey had agreed to try to assist in this matter, and that the latest agreement struck between them ends years of Israeli-Turkish enmity, protects Israeli soldiers from legal action over the Mavi Marmara affair, leaves the security blockade of Gaza in place, and opens the possibility of major bilateral economic cooperation.

Lady Leyla container vessel docked at Ashdod port on Sunday afternoon. The ship was carrying 11,000 tons of supplies.