Thousands of Israelis protest in Jerusalem against Netanyahu

Thousands of Israelis protest in Jerusalem against Netanyahu
Thousands of Israelis protest in Jerusalem against Netanyahu

Jerusalem, (EFE).- Thousands of people demonstrated in Jerusalem and other Israeli cities on Thursday against the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whom they accuse of “sabotaging the hostage agreement, abandoning the north and leading Israel into the abyss,” according to a call issued this afternoon by the anti-government movement Black Flags.

Behind a black, red and white banner reading “Netanyahu endangers Israel’s security,” thousands of people marched through the city’s streets on their way to Netanyahu’s residence on Azza Street, where the protest will conclude.

“We are running out of time: a deal is on the table!” was one of the slogans spread by the Black Flags on their digital channels during the march, which called on Netanyahu to reach a deal with Hamas to guarantee the safe return of the 120 hostages still in Gaza (116 of whom were kidnapped in the Islamist attacks of 7 October, in which some 1,200 people died).

Protests also in other cities

Also in Tel Aviv, the Israeli pro-democracy movement called for a demonstration in which hundreds of people headed to the headquarters of the Ministry of Defense.

“We are closer than ever”

The Prime Minister will meet with his Cabinet tonight to assess the proposal made last night by Hamas regarding the ceasefire and hostage exchange agreement, in which the organisation claims to have taken a more “flexible” position in terms of discussing with Israel the points of the agreement on which both parties disagree.

“Today, and I say this with caution, we are closer than ever” to an agreement, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told the families of the hostages, according to a report by Channel 12, Israel’s most popular television channel.

Alongside the protests in Jerusalem, the Black Flags have called for another march in the coastal town of Caesarea (north), where the Likud leader’s other private residence is located.

Israeli daily Haaretz also reported on an anti-war protest in Haifa, also on the northern coast, where four people were arrested after police declared the gathering illegal.

Early elections and return of evacuees

The protesters also called for early elections in the country, an option that is increasingly in demand among Israelis, according to a survey by the Maariv newspaper in mid-June, which placed 57% of the population in favour of voting.

Along with the call for elections, protesters are calling for the return of thousands of Israeli evacuees to their homes, both in the south (near the border with Gaza) and in the north (along the border with Lebanon), where more than 60,000 people continue to live in hotels and other state-funded accommodation following the peak of hostilities with the Shiite militia Hezbollah.

The focus of the protests today is the demand for a ceasefire agreement in Gaza that would allow the return of the hostages still in the enclave. Of the 251 kidnapped on October 7, 116 remain captive there, at least 40 of them dead according to Israel – more than 70 according to Hamas – while there are another four hostages held for years, two of them dead.

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