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Monday, July 15, 2024

Hundreds of Israelis protest near Netanyahu’s home demanding hostage swap deal with Hamas

Israelis stage rallies in West Jerusalem, Netanya and on Ayalon Highway, says local media

Hundreds of Israelis attempted to reach the residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in West Jerusalem on Sunday to pressure the government into striking a hostage swap deal with Palestinian factions including Hamas.

They demonstrated near Netanyahu’s residence on Gaza Street and attempted to reach it, but the police prevented them, according to Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth daily.

Dozens of protesters in Tel Aviv also demanded a hostage swap deal and attempted to block a section of the main Ayalon Highway in the city center, the newspaper said.

Read more: Hamas denies report that it plans to move its political bureau to Iraq

In the northern city of Netanya, hundreds of Israelis protested at the city’s entrance, holding a large banner that said “Enough, government of destruction.”

Earlier on Sunday, Netanyahu said that a Gaza cease-fire plan backed by US President Joe Biden will enable the release of hostages “without harming the other aims of the war.”

On Saturday, Yedioth Ahronoth reported, citing unnamed informed sources, that the Israeli negotiating team will leave on Monday to continue talks regarding the deal.

For months, efforts by the US, Qatar and Egypt to mediate an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas for a hostage exchange and cease-fire have been hampered by Netanyahu’s rejection of Hamas’s call to halt hostilities.

Israel, flouting a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire, has faced international condemnation amid its continued brutal offensive on Gaza since an Oct. 7, 2023 attack by the Palestinian group Hamas.

Read more: Netanyahu says intense fighting against Hamas is ending but war to go on

More than 38,150 Palestinians have since been killed, mostly women and children, and over 87,800 others injured, according to local health authorities.

Nine months into the Israeli war, vast tracts of Gaza lie in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, whose latest ruling ordered it to immediately halt its military operation in the southern city of Rafah, where over a million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on May 6.