Friday, May 24, 2024

Israelis protest against Netanyahu’s government, urging captive deal with Hamas

Thousands of Israeli anti-government protesters have gathered in Tel Aviv, among other parts of the occupied territories, to call on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to reach an agreement to free dozens of captives held by the Hamas group in Gaza and to hold early elections.

The demonstrators shouted slogans late on Saturday, expressing anger at Netanyahu’s government for its inability to secure the release of the captives after six months of fighting.

Israeli media reported scenes of confrontations between security forces and protesters in Tel Aviv, where demonstrators reportedly started several fires, before they were quickly put out by the police.

People chanted “Police, police who exactly are you guarding?”, and “Ben-Gvir is a terrorist”, referring to Israel’s minister of national security, the Haaretz daily newspaper reported.

The protest organisers quoted by local media said rallies were taking place at about 50 other locations in addition to Tel Aviv.

Such Saturday protests have become a regular occurrence in Tel Aviv and other parts of the occupied territories, since the early months of the war that began on October 7.

The latest demonstrations come as ceasefire negotiations – which include discussions about the release of the captives – are set to take place in Cairo. The talks are being mediated by Qatar, Egypt and the United States.

Organisers of the anti-government protests in Tel Aviv say that 100,000 people participated in the demonstrations, according to the Israeli media.

Israel declared war on Gaza after Hamas carried out a deadly attack on October 7, killing some 1,200 people and taking more than 250 others captive. More than 100 have since been released, but others remain captive in Gaza.

Netanyahu launched Israel’s relentless war on Gaza in the aftermath of Hamas’s attack.

In the last six months, at least 33,100 Palestinians have been killed and 75,800 wounded in Israeli attacks on the strip – with starvation and famine reported in particular in the north of the enclave due to lack of international aid access.

A new round of indirect truce negotiations is expected to begin in Cairo on Sunday. CIA Director Bill Burns will attend the talks along with his Egyptian counterpart. A representative from Hamas will also attend, the group said on Saturday. The Israeli side has not yet said whether it would send a delegation to the talks.

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