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Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid at an anti-government protest in Haifa. (Photo: video grab)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

“They will not convince me that there is no alternative and that this terrible and extremist government is the best thing this country can offer its citizens.”

Thousands of protesters yet again took to the streets in several Israeli cities on Saturday, including Tel Aviv, to demand early elections and the release of captives held in the Gaza Strip.

Demonstrations were also held in West Jerusalem, Caesarea, Haifa and Be’er Sheva, the Anadolu news agency reported.

At a protest in front of the Defense Ministry, Einav Tsinguker, the mother of one of the captives, condemned the National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, saying: “He wants to burn the country and open a new front against Iran.”

Turning her attention to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Tsinguker said: “Your hands are stained with the blood of the dead. You abandoned (the captives in Gaza), corrupted, stole and occupied,” in reference to charges he faces in his corruption trial, reported Anadolu.

“Taking pictures with soldiers or at Independence Day celebrations won’t help you. Nothing can cleanse you from failure and abandonment. Hamas defeated you, and we paid the price,” she added.

‘Disaster for the Country’

At the really in Paris Square in Haifa, opposition leader Yair Lapid told the crowd that “this government is not the state. This government is a disaster for the country.”

“They will not convince me that there is no alternative and that this terrible and extremist government is the best thing this country can offer its citizens,” he added.

Lapid stressed that “we need to hold elections now,” saying it was for “the sake of the hostages, the sake of the soldiers, for the sake of those evacuated, for the sake of saving the state of Israel.”

‘End of Netanyahu’s Rule’

Former Israeli Chief of Staff Dan Halutz also spoke in Haifa, and accused Netanyahu of not being interested in the return of the hostages “because it heralds the end of his rule.”

“They (the captives) were abandoned six months ago, and Israel did not put an offer on the table to pay everything in return for their release,” Halutz said.

“The absolute victory promised by Netanyahu will not happen, and there has been no war in Gaza for over three months. When there is no road, you will never reach your destination,” he reportedly said.

At a protest on Kaplan Street, Netanyahu received further criticism.

Ruby Hain, the father of a soldier whom the family announced in March “was killed while being abducted” said senior officials of the US administration offered condolences to the family after announcing the death of his son.

However, “Netanyahu sent a message to the family just last week.”

“He hides behind a message instead of looking into our eyes. Netanyahu lacks the basic human qualities that make the leader of the people of Israel a human being,” he said. “I feel ashamed because he is the leader of the people of Israel.”

‘Accept Any Deal’

On Friday, hundreds of protesters formed a human chain at the coast in Herzlilya “in an act of protest against the government,” and demanded it “accept any deal that would release all remaining captives in Gaza, according to The Jerusalem Post.

Israel has been witnessing almost daily protests demanding that Netanyahu reach an agreement with Palestinian factions in Gaza and hold early elections.

The Islamic Resistance Group Hamas accuses Netanyahu of “stubbornness” and a lack of desire to reach an agreement.

The movement’s demands include: “A permanent ceasefire, the withdrawal of the occupation army from the entire Gaza Strip, the return of the displaced to their areas and places of residence, the intensification of relief and aid entry and the start of reconstruction.”

Over 34,000 Killed

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, 34,097 Palestinians have been killed, and 76,980 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 7,000 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.

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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