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regular-article-logo Sunday, 26 May 2024

Protests against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intensify as ceasefire talks resume

Some protesters carried signs calling for Netanyahu’s 'immediate removal.' Others wielded posters calling for elections, saying 'those who destroyed can’t be the ones to fix'

Adam Rasgon, Vivian Yee, Javier C. Hernández Jerusalem Published 01.04.24, 09:45 AM
Benjamin Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu File picture

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced growing challenges to power on Sunday as thousands gathered outside parliament to call for early elections in what were shaping up to be one of the largest demonstrations against the government in Israel since the start of the war in the Gaza Strip.

Some protesters carried signs calling for Netanyahu’s “immediate removal.” Others wielded posters calling for elections, saying “those who destroyed can’t be the ones to fix.”

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The protest came a day after thousands took to the streets of Tel Aviv, waving flags and carrying pictures of the Israeli hostages with signs reading, “Hostage deal now.”

Elad Dreifuss, a 25-year-old university student demonstrating in Jerusalem on Sunday, said that protesting against the government at a time of war was a difficult decision, but that “if the government can’t live up to its responsibility, something has to change.”

The protests in Jerusalem, which were planned to continue through Wednesday, came as in-person talks resumed in Cairo concerning a possible cease-fire and the release of hostages held by Hamas militants in Gaza. Bassem Naim, a spokesperson for Hamas, said the group had not sent a delegation there.

Netanyahu has faced increasing pressure at home and abroad over Israel’s prosecution of the war in Gaza.

Close allies such as the United States have criticized the heavy toll on civilians and have called on Israel to allow more aid into the enclave, where death and hunger are widespread. And many Israelis have demanded that Netanyahu prioritize the release of the hostages, taken by Hamas on Oct. 7 and still held in Gaza, as part of a cease-fire deal.

Some of the demonstrators outside the Knesset, the Israeli Legislature, in Jerusalem, were expected to remain in a cluster of tents there for several days.

“I believe Israel is facing one of the most difficult moments in its history,” said Moshe Radman, an entrepreneur who is helping organize the protest. “We need a government that will act for the betterment of the nation, not in the interest of political and personal considerations of a prime minister.”

Netanyahu, who underwent surgery to treat a hernia Sunday evening, met in Jerusalem with families of soldiers who are being held in Gaza, his office said. Early Monday, his office said the procedure had been successful.

The New York Times News Service

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