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Anti-Netanyahu protests

War on Gaza: Anti-Netanyahu protests rock Israel

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Tens of thousands of people on Sunday gathered outside the Israeli parliament building in Jerusalem in the largest anti government protest since Israel launched its assault on Gaza.

Doha-based broadcaster – Al Jazeera reported that the protesters on Sunday demanded the government to secure a ceasefire deal that would also free Israeli captives held by Hamas in Gaza and called for early elections.

Demonstrators claimed the Jerusalem protest was the biggest since Israel launched its war on Gaza in October.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has faced widespread criticism over the security failure of the October 7 Hamas-led attack on southern Israel in which 1,139 people were killed and about 250 others taken to Gaza, according to Israeli authorities.

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Netanyahu has vowed to destroy Hamas and bring all the hostages home, yet those goals have been elusive. While Hamas has suffered heavy losses, it remains intact.

Roughly, half the hostages in Gaza were released during a weeklong ceasefire in November. But attempts by international mediators to bring home the remaining hostages have failed.

Israel’s war on Gaza has killed at least 32,782 people, mostly women and children, according to Palestinian authorities.

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A new round of talks on a ceasefire and captive-prisoner exchange was expected to start on Sunday in Egypt’s capital, Cairo, although Hamas said the group had not decided whether to send a delegation.

Mediators had hoped to secure a ceasefire before the start of Ramadan, but progress stalled and the Muslim holy month is more than half over.

The crowd stretched for blocks around the Knesset and organisers have decided to continue the demonstration for several days.

The demonstrators say they would sleep in tents in the city to stage their protest, said Al Jazeera’s Hamdah Salhut, reporting from the demonstrations in West Jerusalem.

“They say they want to oust Netanyahu; they say they’re fed up with his policies, ones that have not seen the return of the remaining Israeli captives who are held in Gaza.”

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The demonstrators also demanded new elections nearly two years ahead of schedule.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid criticised Netanyahu at the demonstration, saying he was destroying Israel’s relations with the United States and leaving the captives to their fate.

The prime minister was doing “everything for politics, nothing for the country”, Lapid said.

Thousands of others demonstrated in Tel Aviv, Israel’s largest city.

Netanyahu, in a nationally televised speech before he was due to undergo hernia surgery, said he understood families’ pain.

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He said calling new elections would paralyse Israel for six to eight months.

 





Source link: Daily Trust/

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