EventsEventsPodcasts
Loader
Find Us
ADVERTISEMENT

'Bring everyone back home': Thousands in Tel Aviv demand release of hostages held by Hamas

People protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government and call for the release of hostages held in Gaza in Tel Aviv, June 15, 2024
People protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government and call for the release of hostages held in Gaza in Tel Aviv, June 15, 2024 Copyright Maya Alleruzzo/Copyright 2024 The AP All rights reserved
Copyright Maya Alleruzzo/Copyright 2024 The AP All rights reserved
By Euronews with AP
Published on Updated
Share this articleComments
Share this articleClose Button
Copy/paste the article video embed link below:Copy to clipboardCopied

Since Israel launched its military offensive in Gaza, more than 100 hostages were released during a weeklong ceasefire in November last year. But efforts to strike a new truce deal which would include an exchange of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners have so far stalled.

ADVERTISEMENT

Thousands of people have staged a protest in Tel Aviv to demand the Israeli government do more to secure the release of the hostages still being held by Hamas in Gaza. 

The weekly protests also have an anti-government element, with many demanding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu call fresh elections and make way for a successor. 

"I'm not ready to live in a world full of death. I am not ready to live in a country with a government that sends us to settle in the borders and fight in wars and in the end abandons us. I'm not ready to live without a father," said Ofer Kalderon, the son of Rotem Kalderon, one of the hostages captured by Hamas.

Hamas launched an incursion into southern Israel last October, killing around 1,200 people and taking 250 others hostage.

Since Israel launched its military offensive in Gaza, more than 100 hostages have been released during a weeklong ceasefire in November last year.

But efforts to strike a new truce deal which would include an exchange of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners have so far stalled.

I am not ready to live in a country with a government that sends us to settle in the borders and fight in wars and in the end abandons us.
Ofer Kalderon
Son of Israeli hostage Rotem Kalderon

One of the stated aims of Israel's military campaign was to free the hostages held in Gaza but in eight months, only seven have been freed.

Three others were mistakenly killed by Israeli forces after they escaped on their own and Hamas says others have been killed in Israeli airstrikes. Israel estimates around 80 are still being held by Hamas along with the bodies of 40 others.

"Say yes to the deal, bring everyone back home; the living for rehabilitation and their families and the dead for a dignified burial in their country," said Michal Lubnov, the wife of hostage Alex Lubnov.

The Israeli offensive into Gaza has killed over 37,000 Palestinians, according to local health officials, who do not differentiate between civilians and combatants.

It also has unleashed a humanitarian disaster in Gaza, where over 80% of the population has been displaced and Israeli restrictions and ongoing fighting have hindered efforts to bring in humanitarian aid, fuelling widespread hunger.

The inconclusive war has also divided the Israeli public, with thousands of people taking to the streets each Saturday night to call on the government to reach a deal that would bring the hostages home. Some accuse Benjamin Netanyahu of prioritising his political survival over the lives of the hostages.

Meanwhile, Palestinians in southern Gaza have queued under the blazing sun to access water from aid trucks in Khan Younis, where tens of thousands are mainly living in plastic tents.

Displaced people there are struggling with the high temperatures, lack of food and water and little to no medical supplies.

This comes a day after a senior WFP official said a "water and sanitation catastrophe" was unfolding in southern Gaza, made worse by the swelling numbers of people displaced from the southernmost city of Rafah.

"People are camping on the streets, on the beach, at best with some piece of shelter. But, you know, we were driving through rivers of sewage," said WFP Deputy Executive Director, Carl Skau.

On the same day a spokesperson for UNICEF told the BBC that one of their convoys had been denied entry into northern Gaza despite having all the necessary documents.

Share this articleComments

You might also like

Eight Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza

Senior WFP official warns of 'catastrophe' in southern Gaza as conflict continues

No Gaza ceasefire on the horizon as negotiations continue