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Thousands of Israelis protest Netanyahu government, demand prisoner swap with Palestinian factions

June 23, 2024 at 11:28 am

Thousands holding banners and Israeli flags gather during a demonstration at Likud Party HQ to demand a hostage swap deal with Gaza and the dismissal of the government led by Benjamin Netanyahu, in Tel Aviv, Israel on June 22, 2024 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

Thousands of Israelis protested Saturday in Tel Aviv, Caesarea and Jerusalem, demanding a hostage swap deal with Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip, according to media reports.

“Dozens of thousands of Israelis protested in the Kidnapped Soldiers’ Square in central Tel Aviv, demanding an immediate hostage swap deal and the dismissal of Benjamin Netanyahu’s government through early elections,” the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported.

It said the demonstration was the largest in Tel Aviv since 7 October.

Thousands protested at Paris Square in Jerusalem’s city centre to also demand a hostage deal, according to Israeli Channel 12.

Israelis also protested in downtown Caesarea, according to Yedioth Ahronoth, where they marched to Netanyahu’s residence and called for his “immediate” resignation.

Knesset member Gilad Kariv participated in that demonstration.

Protesters chanted against Netanyahu and the government, holding them “responsible” for the deaths of dozens of hostages in Gaza.

Former Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who left the now-dissolved War Cabinet, also participated in demonstrations in the “Kiryat Gat” settlement in the Negev, where protesters demanded a hostage swap deal.

Flouting a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire, Israel has faced international condemnation amid its continued brutal offensive on Gaza since a 7 October, 2023 attack by Hamas.

The Palestinian death toll from relentless Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip since last October has exceeded 37,500, according to the Ministry of Health in the besieged enclave.

More than 85,600 people have also been injured in the onslaught, the Ministry added.

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

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

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