Helena Lyng Blak
6 weeks ago

“Half a Year of Hell”: Massive Protests Against Netanyahu in Israel

Over the weekend, tens of thousands of Israeli citizens took to the streets, calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
People protesting Netanyahu in 2023. Photo: Noa Ratinsky / Shutterstock.com
People protesting Netanyahu in 2023. Photo: Noa Ratinsky / Shutterstock.com

Over the weekend, tens of thousands of Israeli citizens took to the streets, calling for elections, ceasefire, and the resignation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Sunday marked the six-month anniversary of the war in Gaza, sparked by a Hamas terrorist attack on October 7, 2023, which resulted in the deaths of more than 1,000 people. Furthermore, Hamas took approximately 250 hostages, around 130 of whom remain captive and unaccounted for.

Since then, Israel’s retaliatory offensive in Gaza has resulted in at least 33,000 deaths, according to AFP reports.

External Pressure

As the war rages on, external political pressures on Israel are coming to a head.

“Israel is slowly chopping away at its’ support in the West,” says geopolitical analyst Mikkel Rosenvold.

He elaborates; “The recent events only add to the frustration and impatience with the Israeli war effort and now the domestic pressure is growing too. Netanyahu is insisting to dig out the last hostages by force, while Hamas simply holds on and waits for Israel to destroy its’ remaining sympathy in the West and elsewhere in the World.”

On Friday, US President Joe Biden communicated to Netanyahu during a phone call that he expects to see changes in Israel's approach to Gaza, according to Danmarks Radio.

The US is among Israel’s closest and most important allies. The essentially unprecedented strain on the relationship between the two nations is bound to “make a big impression on Israelis,” says Danmarks Radio correspondent Steffen Kratz.

“There is still a long way to go before the White House may get a new administration more friendly to Netanyahu,” says Mikkel Rosenvold, continuing; “and even if Trump does win the presidency, his support for Israel seems to be waning as well. I’m increasingly pessimistic on behalf of the Israelis who are isolating themselves more and more with each hospital bombed and each civilian killed.”

"Elections Now!"

With external resistance growing, so too is the internal.

On Sunday, in Tel Aviv alone, as many as 100,000 people protested against the current Israeli government.

"Half a year in hell," read one sign held above the crowd, referencing the war's duration and the uncertainty faced by the friends and families of Hamas' hostages, who are left without answers about whether their loved ones are dead or alive.

Meanwhile, crowds were chanting for "elections now."

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