Thousands of Israelis take to streets to demand hostage deal

Thousands of Israelis take to streets to demand hostage deal
Israeli protesters have taken to the streets to demand the Netanyahu government accepts a deal with Hamas to return captives held in Gaza.
2 min read
12 May, 2024
The protesters in Israel also called for Netanyahu's resignation and blamed him for the death of captives in Gaza [Getty]

Thousands of Israeli protesters on Saturday took to the streets across several cities, demanding the Israeli government accept the captives-for-peace deal supported by Hamas last week.

The protesters blamed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the failure of the deal with Hamas, and called for the phased release of all Israeli captives in Gaza and a permanent ceasefire.

Israel rejected the deal and has subsequently launched an offensive on the southern Gaza city of Rafah, effectively ending any chances of peace in the short term.

The largest protest came in Kaplan Square in Tel Aviv, where protesters called for early elections as well as the acceptance of the ceasefire deal with Hamas, as reported by Yedioth Ahronoth.

In Caesarea, around 2000 protesters gathered outside one of Netanyahu's homes, where they held a memorial service for the victims of the 7 October attack.

At a press conference in Caesarea, the son of one of the victims said that he held Netanyahu responsible for his father’s death and called on the prime minister to accept a deal with Hamas and resign.

Similar demonstrations, calling for a peace deal, early elections and accusing Netanyahu of neglecting the prisoners, were held in Haifa, West Jerusalem, Rehovot and Ness Ziona.

In Tel Aviv's Ayalon area, Channel 12 reported the arrest of several protesters for “inciting riots” and attempting to block the northern section of Ayalon Road, including the wife of one of the captives held in Gaza.

Earlier on Saturday, tensions escalated at a protest in West Jerusalem following the Qassam Brigades' announcement of the death of 51-year-old Nadav Bublil, a dual British-Israeli national, from injuries sustained in an Israeli airstrike. During a press conference, the families of Israeli captives blamed Netanyahu for the deaths of captives.

“The government has abandoned our children and left them to die, after deciding to enter Rafah, which puts their lives at risk,” the families said in a statement.

It is believed that 132 captives are held by Hamas and other groups in Gaza, 128 of whom were taken on 7 October.

Israel’s air and ground assault on Gaza has killed at least 35,000 Palestinians, the overwhelming majority of whom are innocent civilians, leaving much of the besieged enclave in ruins.