Thousands demonstrated in Israel against Netanyahu’s government

In the coastal metropolis of Tel Aviv, participants in a rally demanded an immediate end to the Gaza war in order to free the more than 100 hostages held by Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip. “Stop fighting, pay the price!” Israeli media quoted one of the speakers, whose cousin is among the hostages, as saying.

After an initial exchange of 105 hostages for 240 Palestinian prisoners at the end of November, Hamas only wants to release the others it abducted when Israel’s military withdraws from the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu and his colleagues, however, say that only the military defeat of Hamas can lead to the liberation of the abductees.

In the northern port city of Haifa, several hundred supporters of the left-wing Chadash party demanded the resignation of the head of government on Saturday. Several hundred people also took to the streets in Jerusalem against the Netanyahu government.

Relatives of the hostages and sympathizers had already started a sustained protest on Friday evening in front of Netanyahu’s home in the coastal town of Caesarea, 50 kilometers north of Tel Aviv. “We expect serious people (…) to come out and give us real answers about how our loved ones are doing,” the news portal “haaretz.com” quoted a hostage relative as saying.

Guterres: Rejection of a state for Palestinians is “unacceptable”

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has strongly advocated a two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and Hamas. “The refusal to accept a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians and the denial of the right to statehood for the Palestinian people are unacceptable,” Guterres said Saturday at the Non-Aligned Summit in Uganda.

Such a stance would “indefinitely prolong a conflict that has become a major threat to international peace and security.” The right of the Palestinians to build their own state must be “recognized by everyone,” emphasized Guterres.

The Non-Aligned Movement was founded during the Cold War and includes around 120 countries, including Iran, India, Iraq and South Africa.

On Friday, US President Joe Biden also reiterated that he continues to support Palestinian statehood. “The president still believes in the promise and possibility of a two-state solution,” US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Friday after Biden’s phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. The two-state solution envisages an independent Palestinian state coexisting with Israel.

Netanyahu, however, emphasized that in the future his country would have to have security control over “all territories west of the (River) Jordan” – which contradicts the idea of ​​Palestinian sovereignty.

The war in the Gaza Strip was triggered by the unprecedented major attack by Hamas on October 7th. At that time, fighters from the Islamist Palestinian organization, classified as a terrorist organization by the USA and the EU, attacked Israel and killed around 1,140 people and kidnapped around 250 people as hostages to the Gaza Strip.

In response to the attack, Israel declared war on Hamas and launched a massive military operation in the Gaza Strip. According to the latest figures from the Hamas Ministry of Health, which cannot be independently verified, more than 24,900 people have been killed there since then.

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