Hostages' families put pressure on Netanyahu

“Bibi go home.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
18 November 2023 Saturday 03:22
2 Reads
Hostages' families put pressure on Netanyahu

“Bibi go home.” John, an Israeli citizen, holds a banner written in English against Prime Minister Beniamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv's Charles Clore Park, on the shores of the Mediterranean. “You weaken our institutions. You divide the people. Your narcissism has no limits. Go home". The banner has a hole.

John is alone, looking towards a fence protected by the police, inside which, on the grass, about 300 people are participating in an event against the war in Gaza. They are few, but until now Israelis have not seen such organized protests against the war. Several participants stressed that yesterday's event, coinciding with the Sabbath, was just the beginning.

Some wear Palestinian scarves. Many hold signs in Hebrew. “In Gaza and Sderot the children want to live,” says one. “Israelis and Palestinians are not enemies,” reads another. “No to the military solution, only peace will bring security,” says a banner signed by the Communist Party of Israel. “Cease fire now,” says another.

The police search anyone who wants to enter the fence. “Does he carry a gun? Does he carry a knife? Does it carry a flag?” asks the agent. The last question draws attention, taking into account that about sixty meters away another small concentration is full of flags with the Star of David. There are about fifty people who support Bibi Netanyahu, some of whom shout and insult the pacifists from a distance. The group has played deafening music so that what the speakers at the anti-war rally are saying cannot be heard.

Pacifists cannot fly the Israeli flag. The war supporters, yes. “This is a dictatorship,” complains a peace activist. In the middle of the two groups is John, who is not entirely clear if he is against the war but wants Netanyahu to leave. The hole in the banner was made a while ago by the prime minister's defenders when they rebuked him "for the passivity of the police," John denounces.

Meanwhile, at the same time, a five-day march that brought together 20,000 people called by the relatives of the 240 kidnapped by Hamas ends in Jerusalem.

The Forum of the Families of Hostages and Missing Persons has managed to flood the streets of Israel with posters of the kidnapped people and has exerted such pressure on Netanyahu that yesterday the prime minister was forced to hold a press conference coinciding with the arrival of the march. . And on Monday he will receive a delegation from this organization.

The forum is not against the war nor does it tell the Government how to get the hostages back home, it only demands that Netanyahu achieve it. “The Families Forum is not political and we do not get involved in that issue,” a source from the organization assured La Vanguardia yesterday.

“We march with you,” the Israeli premier told the relatives during his appearance. He sympathized with them and denied that there was any agreement reached with Hamas with the mediation of Qatar for the release of the hostages. “When we have something to say, we will inform you,” Netanyahu said dryly at the insistence of journalists, after it emerged that US President Joe Biden spoke by phone with the emir of Qatar, Tamim bin, on Friday. Hamad al Thani, to insist on this issue. Netanyahu recalled that the first objective of the war is to end Hamas and the second to free the kidnapped people.

The Sabbath was a day of bloody Israeli attacks on Gaza. The most condemned by the international community affected a school located in the Jabaliya refugee camp managed by UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees. This is the Al Fajura school, which sheltered hundreds of displaced Gazans. According to the health authorities of the Strip, the death toll at the school would be at least fifty, although it could be more. Later, in another bombing against the camp, another 32 members of the same family were killed, 19 of them children.

Precisely, yesterday the army requested the evacuation of the Jabaliya camp and offered the residents who still remain there to move to two supposedly safe areas of Gaza City.

Hamas authorities also reported at least 47 more deaths after a building in Khan Younis was attacked by Israel, an area where two days ago the army asked to evacuate several towns. Many of the deceased would also be children.

Israeli bombings have already killed 16,000 Palestinians in Gaza, 5,000 of them minors, according to Hamas yesterday, updating the death toll by about 4,000 more than the numbers it offered until Friday.

On the other hand, early Saturday morning an Israeli drone killed five Palestinians in the Balata refugee camp, in the West Bank.

Regarding the situation at the Al Shifa hospital in Gaza City, conflicting information was also spread this Saturday: early on, it was said that the army had requested the evacuation of the largest health center in the Strip, but then Israel denied it and He attributed it to a “request” from the director of the medical complex.

After Israel announced on Friday that it would allow two fuel tankers a day into the strip, UNRWA Commissioner Philippe Lazzarini, responsible for managing their use, welcomed the decision but insisted that many more are needed. liters. Yesterday, the first two tankers arrived in Gaza from Egypt, through the Rafah border crossing, with more than 100,000 liters of fuel. “After long weeks of delay, the Israeli authorities approved only half of the minimum daily fuel needs for humanitarian operations in Gaza,” Lazzarini said in a statement, warning that if there is a lack of fuel it will not be possible to properly purify wastewater. causing the spread of epidemics, which was why Israel finally approved these shipments.

The delivery of fuel is a sensitive issue for Israel, which refused to allow the arrival so that it would not be used by Hamas. Yesterday, Netanyahu referred to the matter and justified the shipment of fuel because “humanitarian aid is also essential for continued international support.” He added: “Without humanitarian aid, even our best friends will find it difficult to support us for a long time.”