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Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Israelis Protest Against Netanyahu

Thousands of Israelis demand a prisoner exchange and early elections amidst the ongoing Gaza conflict, reflecting political dissatisfaction and humanitarian concerns, while facing international scrutiny and humanitarian challenges.

Tens of thousands of Israelis took to the streets across multiple cities, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, demanding a prisoner exchange with Palestinian factions and calling for early elections.

The demonstrations, organized by various groups, aimed to pressure the government into holding early elections. In Tel Aviv’s Kaplan Square, protesters gathered weekly, advocating for a change in leadership due to distrust and dissatisfaction.

At the Karkur junction and in Rehovot near Tel Aviv, demonstrators displayed banners criticizing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s administration, accusing it of prolonging the conflict unnecessarily. Chants of “We need new leadership” and “Elections now” echoed through the streets as citizens voiced their frustration with the ongoing situation. Protestors also criticized Netanyahu’s inability to resolve the conflict with Hamas.

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Netanyahu’s Response

Prime Minister Netanyahu responded to the protests, indicating a willingness to engage in a “partial” agreement to secure the release of some Israeli captives in Gaza. However, he reaffirmed his commitment to a ceasefire proposal backed by the United States, emphasizing the need to ensure the safety of southern residents and eliminate threats posed by Hamas.

Addressing the Knesset, Netanyahu underscored his government’s stance, stating, “We will not end the war until we bring back all the hostages and eliminate Hamas.” Despite international pressure for an immediate ceasefire, Israel continues to face criticism for its military actions in Gaza, which have resulted in significant casualties among Palestinian civilians.

Humanitarian Impact and Global Reactions

The conflict has left a devastating humanitarian toll in Gaza, with local health authorities reporting over 37,800 Palestinian fatalities and more than 86,800 injuries, predominantly among women and children. The region remains under a severe blockade, severely restricting access to essential supplies such as food, clean water, and medical aid.

Internationally, Israel has faced condemnation, with accusations of genocide leveled against it at the International Court of Justice. The court has intervened, ordering Israel to cease operations in specific areas like Rafah, where thousands sought refuge before being displaced by military action.