Creating new perspectives since 2009

Israel opposition accuses Netanyahu of favouring his career over return of hostages

April 29, 2024 at 8:45 am

Israeli opposition and Yesh Atid party leader, Yair Lapid, speaks to the press during a party meeting in Jerusalem, on 5 February, 2024 [Amir Levy/Getty Images]

Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid has criticised Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, saying that he does not want to conclude a prisoner swap dealand return Israeli prisoners of war held in Gaza “because he fears the disintegration of his ruling coalition”, Israel’s Channel 12 reported.

Lapid stressed that it is impossible for Israeli society to recover without the return of the prisoners, adding that if he were prime minister, he would have refused to launch a military aggression against Rafah in exchange for the prisoners’ return, noting that an exchange deal could have been concluded in December.

“Every day we wait for more prisoners to die one after another,” he said, adding that “this government is doing nothing but causing damage to Israel’s image in the world.”

Many are holding their breath waiting for the outcome of the latest round of prisoner swap talks, described by observers as “the last chance”, after Tel Aviv threatened to invade Rafah if an agreement is not reached.

READ: Israeli chief of staff expected to resign: Reports

Yesterday, Foreign Minister Israel Katz said if a prisoner exchange agreement is reached, Israel will stop the planned military aggression on Gaza’s southernmost city, Rafah.

Katz’s statements to the private Hebrew Channel 12 came after the Al-Qassam Brigades, the military arm of the Hamas movement, published a video clip of two prisoners detained in Gaza, demanding the Netanyahu government to release them.

Last week, the Palestinian resistance released videos of two prisoners of war being held in Gaza, they called on the Israeli government to agree to a prisoner swap deal and allow for their return.

“Benjamin Netanyahu and his government should be ashamed of yourselves because you neglected us,” 24-year-old Hersh Goldberg-Polin said in one video. “You should be ashamed of yourselves for leaving us for 200 days and all the efforts of the army have failed. Because the Air Force bombings killed about 70 detainees like me. Also, you should be ashamed because all the deals that were offered to you were rejected. Don’t you want to end this nightmare?” he asked.

Hamas has said that over 70 prisoners of war have been killed in Gaza as a result of Israel’s bombing campaign on the Strip.

READ: Israeli settlers storm Al-Aqsa Mosque to mark Jewish Passover holiday