Israeli protesters announce week of action, demand government secure Gaza captives deal

Israeli protesters announce week of action, demand government secure Gaza captives deal
Organisers of the week of resistance called for protesters to block off highways and protest outside the residence of ministers.
2 min read
16 June, 2024
Anti-Netanyahu protesters have been demanding new elections and a hostage deal [Photo by Amir Levy/Getty Images]

Thousands of Israelis took part in nationwide protests on Saturday, announcing a week of resistance over the failure of the government to secure the release of Israeli captives held in Gaza.

Saturday's protests were centred around Tel Aviv, including outside the city's defence headquarters, Hostage Square and Democracy Square.

Former war cabinet member Benny Gantz, who resigned from Benjamin Netanyahu's war time government on 9 June, was also present at the protests.

At the protest in Hostage Square former captive Andrey Kozlov spoke to the crowd in a video address calling for the government to strike a deal with Hamas.

He told the crowd that "for the hostages that are still in Gaza, there is one decision, only one, it is a deal between Israel and Hamas." He added that he had been shown rallies in Israel by Hamas during captivity.

Kozlov was rescued in an operation in Nuseirat Refugee Camp on 8 June that also freed captives Noa Argamani, Almog Meir Jan and Shlomi Ziv. 274 Palestinians were killed in the raid, with a further 698 wounded, according to Gaza's health officials.

At Democracy Square, Ayala Metzger, who's father-in-law Yoram Metzger died whilst captive in Gaza, called for people to block high-ways and streets and to demonstrate outside the residence of government ministers as part of a week of resistance organised by anti-government protesters.

That week began on Sunday with protesters blocking major highways in Israel.

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Many family members of the victims of Hamas 7 October attack on southern Israel that killed 1,200 people and took 250 captives back to Gaza hold Netanyahu responsible for the incident, and for the government's inability to return the 116 captives that are still held in Gaza.

On Saturday, Israeli military spokesperson Daniel Hagari said "we must honestly say - we will not be able to return everyone home in this way", referring to the recovery of the four captives during the Nuseirat massacre.

"We continue and will continue to act in every way in order to create the conditions for the return home of all of the hostages as quickly as possible," he added.

Following major speeches on Saturday protesters attempted to march towards Netanyahu's residence, although police intervened by declaring the protest illegal.

12 people were arrested as the police attempted to disperse protests at the Begin-Kaplan intersection in Tel Aviv, including Haaretz photographer Itai Ron who was later released.

Israel's war on Gaza has killed 37,296 Palestinians, with a further 85,197 wounded. The enclave is also facing an aid crisis which has left the enclave on the midst of famine.