Tens of thousands of Israelis are participating in anti-government protests Objections

Protesters said the Jerusalem rally was the largest anti-government demonstration since Israel launched its war on Gaza in October.

Thousands of people have gathered outside Israel’s parliament in Jerusalem in the largest anti-government demonstration since Israel launched an offensive in Gaza.

Demonstrators on Sunday called on the government to find a ceasefire deal that would free Israel again slaves held by Hamas in Gaza and calling for early elections.

Demonstrators said the demonstrations in Jerusalem were the largest since Israel launched an offensive in Gaza in October.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has been widely criticized for failing to protect the security of the October 7 Hamas attack in southern Israel that killed 1,139 people and nearly 250 others were captured in Gaza, according to Israeli officials. Israel’s war on Gaza has killed at least 32,782 people, mostly women and children, according to Palestinian officials.

A deal between Israel and Hamas in November led to the release of more than 100 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.

New talks on a ceasefire and slave swap are expected to begin on Sunday in Cairo, although Hamas said the group had not decided to send a delegation.

Mediators had hoped to end the fighting before the start of Ramadan, but progress has stalled and the Muslim holy month is more than halfway through.

“After six months, it seems like the government understands that Bibi Netanyahu is an obstacle,” activist Einav Moses, whose father-in-law Gadi Moses, has been arrested, told the Associated Press. As if they do not want to return them, that they have failed in this task.

Crowds have surrounded the Knesset and organizers have vowed to continue the protests for several days.

The protesters said they would sleep in tents in the city to protest, Al Jazeera’s Hamdah Salhut said, reporting on the protests that took place in West Jerusalem.

“They say they want to remove Netanyahu; “They say they are tired of his policies, who have not seen the return of the Israeli prisoners who remain in Gaza,” said Salhut.

Protesters also called for new elections almost two years earlier.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid strongly criticized Netanyahu at the demonstration, saying he was damaging Israel’s relationship with the United States and leaving the hostages to perish.

The Prime Minister was doing “all politics, no country”, said Lapid.

Thousands more protested in Tel Aviv, Israel’s largest city.

A police officer is wearing a riot gear as anti-government protesters kick off long-running protests calling for the resignation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. [Ronen Zvulun/Reuters]

Netanyahu, in a nationally televised address before undergoing hernia surgery, said he understood the families’ pain.

He said calling for new elections would delay Israel for six to eight months.

Netanyahu reiterated his military pledge in Rafah, south of Gaza City where more than half of the more than 2.3 million people now live after fleeing the war elsewhere.

“There is no victory without going to Rafah,” he said, adding that US pressure he would not stop him.

Anti-government protests have long called for the resignation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Anti-government protesters have called on the current Israeli government to step down [Ronen Zvulun/Reuters]

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