Relatives of hostages block a highway

Relatives of hostages block a highway
Relatives of hostages block a highway

Jerusalem (EFE).- Several relatives of the 116 hostages who remain held in the Gaza Strip almost 9 months after the Hamas attack blocked the Ayalon highway in Tel Aviv on Thursday, demanding an agreement for the release of their loved ones and the end of the government of Benjamin Netanyahu.

A group of about ten people counted the lanes filled with vehicles for about twenty minutes, holding aloft a banner that read: “Enough of the Government of destruction.”

Updated Hamas response

This protest has been emulated in a minority way in other parts of the country, such as on Highway 4, near Netanya, where a group of people burned tires and demanded both a truce agreement and early elections.

This comes hours after the Islamist group Hamas confirmed last night that it had sent the mediators, Egypt and Qatar, an updated response to the latest truce proposal, which was shared with the Israeli counterpart who is currently studying it.

Several Israeli media outlets said today that this is a positive proposal that “could be worked on” towards a truce agreement, a source close to the negotiations told the public broadcaster Kan.

Other media outlets, such as the Yedioth Ahronoth daily, reported tensions between the negotiating group and the Prime Minister’s Office on Monday, after senior officials allegedly blamed Netanyahu and his extremist ministers for trying to thwart any hostage deal.

Displaced Palestinians queue to collect drinking water from a tanker truck in the Khan Yunis refugee camp. EFE/EPA/Haitham Imad

Desperation of relatives

Relatives of hostages such as Simona Steinbrecher, mother of Doron, a captive taken from Kibbutz Kfar Aza on October 7, demanded that Netanyahu not “torpedo” the possibility of reaching an agreement.

“Hostages are dying and every day we fear that more will be killed in captivity,” Steinbrecher told Israel’s public broadcaster today. “There has often been a feeling that a deal would be reached soon, and each time someone torpedoes it.”

For months, relatives and anti-government activists have been taking to the streets every Saturday to demand that the Israeli government listen to them and return the captives. According to American estimates, only 50 are still alive in Gaza.

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