Saturday, April 20, 2024

Israelis rally near Tel Aviv, demanding early elections

With Israel facing growing international isolation due to the Gaza war, hundreds of people demonstrated on Saturday near Tel Aviv to demand early elections.

Israeli daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth said about 300 people protested outside the Weizmann Institute of Science in the city of Rehovot, near Tel Aviv, calling for early elections and the dismissal of the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who many accuse of laying the groundwork for the war and its brutal offensive on Gaza, killing tens of thousands of people.

The pace of protests is expected to rise across Israel in the coming hours.

Israelis demonstrate almost daily to pressure the government to negotiate a prisoner swap deal with Palestinian group Hamas and hold early elections.

Qatar and Egypt, with the assistance of the United States, are mediating between Israel and Hamas to reach a new cease-fire agreement in Gaza and exchange prisoners.

Israel estimates that there are more than 125 hostages in Gaza, while it holds at least 8,800 Palestinians in its prisons, according to official sources from both sides.

Israel has waged a deadly military offensive on the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7, 2023 cross-border attack led by Hamas, in which nearly 1,200 people were killed.

Nearly 31,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have since been killed in Gaza, and over 72,500 others injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

The Israeli war has pushed 85% of Gaza’s population into internal displacement amid a crippling blockade on most food, clean water, and medicine, while 60% of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

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