A large number of people demonstrated in Israel on Thursday evening, both in favour of and against a possible hostage agreement with the Palestinian Islamist organization Hamas.
In Jerusalem, thousands protested against negotiations with Israel’s enemies and in favour of a continuation of the Gaza war, Israeli media reported on Thursday evening.
At the same time, hundreds of people protested in Tel Aviv in favour of a deal to secure the release of the hostages still being held in the Gaza Strip. According to the media, the demonstrators also blocked roads in Israel’s coastal metropolis.
In recent weeks, thousands have repeatedly demonstrated in Israel to put pressure on the government to do more to secure the release of people abducted from Israel by Hamas. Demonstrators also accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of prioritizing his political survival over the fate of the hostages.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu’s far-right coalition members are threatening to break up the governing coalition if the Prime Minister makes concessions to Hamas as part of a hostage deal.
The Israeli war cabinet met on Thursday evening to discuss a possible agreement with Hamas.
As part of an international mediation proposal for the release of further hostages, Hamas is demanding that Israel release more than 1,500 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails – including 500 prisoners who have been sentenced to life or very long prison sentences.
Hamas also continues to insist on a ceasefire. Israel rejects this.
Of around 136 hostages still held by Hamas, the Israeli military says that around one fifth are believed to have died.