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War in the Middle East: Mass demonstrations for an end to the Gaza war

War in the Middle East: Mass demonstrations for an end to the Gaza war
War in the Middle East: Mass demonstrations for an end to the Gaza war

Tens of thousands of people are protesting in Israel again for an end to the Gaza war. Their goal: the release of the remaining hostages. The news at a glance.

At mass rallies in Israel, tens of thousands of people once again demonstrated for the release of hostages in the Gaza Strip and against the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In Tel Aviv and other cities, demonstrators demanded that Netanyahu agree to an end to fighting with Hamas as part of an agreement that would return hostages kidnapped by the Islamists to their families, the online edition of the newspaper Haaretz reported. According to the hostage families’ forum, this was the largest protest since the start of the Gaza war in October last year. The protests were overshadowed by the death of eight Israeli soldiers in fighting in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

In a videotaped speech, Andrey Kozlov, who was freed from captivity a week ago by the Israeli army along with three other hostages in a major operation, said: “There is only one solution for the hostages who are still in Gaza: a deal between Israel and Hamas.” While in captivity, Hamas people let him and his fellow prisoners watch the television reports of the weekly demonstrations in Israel. This gave them courage and confidence. “You are heroes!” Kozlov said to the demonstrators.

According to the newspaper “Times of Israel”, twelve people were arrested in Tel Aviv. The police accuse them of violating public order. Among other things, they blocked roads.

Largest protest since the start of the Gaza war

On October 7, terrorists from Hamas and other Palestinian groups invaded southern Israel, murdering around 1,200 people and taking another 250 hostage to the Gaza Strip. According to figures from the Hamas-controlled health authorities – which cannot be independently verified – more than 37,000 Palestinians were killed in the war that this triggered. Around four-fifths of the population are on the run within the sealed-off coastal strip.

An agreement on the release of the remaining hostages held by Hamas – in return for the release of Palestinians in Israeli prisons – does not currently seem to be within reach. It is suspected that around 120 hostages are still in the isolated coastal area. How many of them are still alive is unclear.

As a condition for a hostage deal, Hamas is demanding an end to the war or at least a guarantee that Israel will cease hostilities. Netanyahu’s government is not prepared to do this. Its aim is to militarily crush and politically disempower the terrorist organization that ruled the Gaza Strip unchallenged until the war began.

Eight Israeli soldiers killed

According to military sources, eight Israeli soldiers were killed yesterday morning in the city of Rafah on the border with Egypt when their armored personnel carrier, which was traveling in a convoy, exploded. It is still unclear whether the explosion was caused by an anti-tank missile or a booby trap, said army spokesman Daniel Hagari. “Today we were once again painfully reminded of the price of war.” According to army sources, Israeli units killed 50 Hamas militiamen in fighting the night before.

Israel says it wants to destroy one of the last strongholds of Hamas and its allies in Rafah. The military has been using ground troops against Hamas there since the beginning of May, but wants this to be seen as a limited operation, not a large-scale offensive. US President Joe Biden had declared the latter a “red line”. Due to the large number of deaths and the catastrophic humanitarian situation, Israel’s actions in the Gaza war are internationally controversial.

The armed forces did not say who was responsible for the attack on the convoy. The Kassam Brigade, the armed wing of Hamas, said via Telegram that they had ambushed “enemy vehicles” in Tal al-Sultan. As is often the case in the course of hostilities, neither the information provided by the Israeli army nor by the opposing side could be independently verified.

WFP warns of worsening situation in southern Gaza

The World Food Programme (WFP) warns that people in the southern part of the Gaza Strip could soon suffer the same catastrophic hunger situation as those in the northern areas. “The situation in southern Gaza is deteriorating rapidly,” said WFP Deputy Director Carl Skau after a two-day visit to the region last Friday.

One million people have been driven out of Rafah and are crammed into an overcrowded area along the beach in the sweltering summer heat. In the northern part of Gaza, the supply of aid has improved somewhat, said Skau. However, the distribution of food is not guaranteed in the long term.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian relief agency UNRWA announced that more than 50,000 children in the Gaza Strip needed treatment for acute malnutrition. Given the ongoing restrictions on humanitarian aid, people “continue to suffer from desperate levels of hunger.”

Source: Stern

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