‘No Deal without Dismissal of Netanyahu’s Government’ – Thousands Protest in Tel Aviv 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Image: Palestine Chronicle)

The anti-government protest organization, Hofshi Israel, estimated about 150,000 protesters participated in the rally, describing it as “the largest demonstration since October.”

As tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Tel Aviv, the families of Israeli captives held in Gaza said that no captive swap deal with the Palestinian Resistance in Gaza could be made without the dismissal of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from the country’s leadership.

This statement was made during a press conference near the Defence Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv, on Saturday, ahead of the protests, reported the Anadolu news agency.

“There will be no swap deal… without the dismissal of Netanyahu’s government,” the captives’ families reportedly stated during the press conference.

The families of captives hold weekly joint press conferences near the Defense Ministry in the Kirya area of central Tel Aviv.

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‘Worst Prime Minister’

The Times of Israel reported that former Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin addressed the crowd “after weeks of turning down a request to do so, as he believed the time was not yet ripe.”

Diskin described Netanyahu as “the worst prime minister” in Israel’s history, saying he had spent the past decade “leading the country to a situation in which there is no internal, regional, or international security.”

Calling for elections at the earliest possible opportunity, Diskin said “Those who are still hesitating: there is no time to save the country. Rise up and join the protest to replace the government.”

‘Elections Now’

On Saturday evening, thousands of protesters rallied in Tel Aviv  demanding “elections now.”

The anti-government protest organization, Hofshi Israel, said an estimated 150,000 protesters participated in the rally in “Democracy Square”, describing it as “the largest demonstration since October.”

It said demonstrations were held in about 70 other locations throughout the country.

“We all say enough! And demand elections now!”, the organization posted on X.

According to Anadolu, the Israeli Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported that “Dozens of thousands of Israelis protested in the Kidnapped Soldiers’ Square in central Tel Aviv, demanding an immediate hostage swap deal and the dismissal of Benjamin Netanyahu’s government through early elections.”

Thousands also protested in Paris Square in Jerusalem’s city center to demand a captive deal, according to Israeli Channel 12, said Anadolu.

Protests also took place in downtown Caesarea, according to Yedioth Ahronoth, where they marched to Netanyahu’s residence and called for his “immediate” resignation.

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Gantz Participates

Former Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who left the now-dissolved War Cabinet, also participated in demonstrations in the Kiryat Gat settlement in the Negev, where protesters demanded a hostage swap deal.

An opinion poll in Israel, revealed on Friday, showed that if elections were held today, Gantz, leader of the opposition National Unity Party, would surpass Netanyahu as the preferred choice for prime minister.

According to The Times of Israel, three protesters were detained following a temporary road blockage on King George Street in Tel Aviv.

The paper said footage posted online “showed mounted police riding into the crowds, shoving protesters aside with their horses.”

After a temporary truce that resulted in an exchange of prisoners from both sides late last year, Tel Aviv still estimates that there are more than 120 Israeli prisoners in Gaza, reported Al-Jazeera. According to Hamas, more than 70 captives have been killed in random raids launched by Israel, the report said.

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Since October 7, more than 9,000 Palestinians are currently in Israeli detention, according to Palestinian prisoner organizations.

Rising Death Toll

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7.

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 37,551 Palestinians have been killed, and 85,911 wounded. Moreover, at least 11,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip.

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

The Israeli war has resulted in an acute famine, mostly in northern Gaza, resulting in the death of many Palestinians, mostly children.

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The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire’.

(PC, Anadolu)

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