Sun, 14 April 2024
The Daily Ittefaq

Israel: Thousands protest Netanyahu's handling of Gaza war

Update : 31 Mar 2024, 10:45

Anti-government protests sprung up in both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem on Saturday as the war in Gaza approaches the six-month mark and more than 100 hostages remain in captivity.

Protesters in Tel Aviv blocked the city's ring road while demanding early elections as well as calling for the release of hostages by Hamas.

In Jerusalem, hundreds of protesters picketed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's private residence, blaming his far-right government for failing to secure the release of the around 130 hostages believed to still be in Gaza — 33 of whom are presumed dead.

Israeli police said in a post on X it was working to maintain public order as protesters blocked major roads. 

Protesters call for progress in negotiations

Police clashed with protesters in Tel Aviv, calling the action illegal and using water cannons to disperse them. Smaller protests were also reported in smaller cities around the country.

Relatives of some of the hostages were also present at the demonstrations. Israeli media reported that 16 people were arrested.

The anti-government protesters are planning a series of demonstrations starting on Sunday in Jerusalem.

Some protesters called for the resignation of the far-right government — which includes some of the most extremist elements in Israel's history — while others demanded a "broad mandate" for Israel's negotiating team to secure the release of the hostages in ongoing talks in Cairo.

Second aid ship departs for Gaza amid hunger crisis

On Saturday, a second vessel from the World Central Kitchen left Cyprus for Gaza. It is expected to arrive in Gaza in the coming days.

Multiple international organizations have warned that Gaza is on the precipice of a famine amid an already disastrous humanitarian crisis caused by severe restrictions on the amount of aid allowed into Gaza by Israeli authorities.

The war in Gaza broke out following the unprecedented attacks by Palestinian militant group Hamas — designated a terror group by Israel and the US among others — on Israel on October 7. Around 1,200 people were killed in the attacks and another 250 were taken hostage.

The subsequent 25 weeks has seen the destruction of much of Gaza under Israeli air strikes and ground offensives that have also killed more than 32,000 Palestinians, according to the Health Ministry in the Hamas-run enclave.

A brief pause in the fighting in November was achieved through a Qatar-mediated agreement to release 110 hostages in exchange for 400 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons.

Israel has since rejected mounting international calls for a cease-fire — and to call off a planned assault on the border town of Rafah in Gaza which has become home to over 1 million Palestinians fleeing the violence in the rest of the strip. 

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