Large protests against Netanyahu: ‘The most failed prime minister in Israel’s history’

It is clear that the protesters are running out of patience. Their demands range from an immediate deal to free the remaining hostages in Gaza and an end to the war to the resignation of Netanyahu’s government and new elections. Speakers during the demonstrations are no longer just recognized opposition leaders: Yuval Diskin, former head of the Israeli Shin Beth security service, also spoke for the first time on Saturday.

Diskin had consistently rejected requests to participate, he said, but could no longer remain silent: He called Benjamin Netanyahu the “worst and most failed prime minister in the history of Israel.” He cited the “futility of the government, the failed approach to war, the lie of ‘total victory’ and the breakdown of our strategic understanding with the United States” as reasons why he had now joined the demonstrations.

The most important reason for him, however, was the fact that the government had lost “almost every opportunity to free our hostage brothers and sisters.”

About the Author
Michel Maas is foreign editor of by Volkskrant. Previously he was a correspondent in Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia.

The hostages were at the center of the protests. On October 7, when Hamas invaded Israeli territory and killed 1,200 people, 251 people were taken to Gaza and taken hostage. An estimated 120 hostages are still held there, an unknown number of whom have since died. Protesters on Saturday marked the 20th anniversary of Naama Levy, a hostage still held by Hamas.

The Jerusalem Post describes how a former hostage, Ilana Gritzewsky, addressed the crowd in Tel Aviv. She was freed in a prisoner exchange on November 30. She said that she was held by “human monsters”, that she heard the bombings every day, she felt the impact of the bombs and feared she would die at any moment.

‘Abandoned hostages’

“We lost hope, we felt helpless, we didn’t sleep, we didn’t eat and we were simply overcome with fear and anxiety.” Her only hope is the images she saw during the demonstrations demanding her release: “She didn’t make me feel alone. There were people who fought for us.”

He had nothing good to say about the government. No minister called her after her release to ask how she was doing. She felt betrayed by Netanyahu. ‘Pity!’ “she,” he exclaimed, “she.” It’s a shame you abandoned me, a shame you abandoned the hostages for so many days.

Demonstrations took place in dozens of places in Israel on Saturday. Thousands of protesters marched towards Netanyahu’s home in Jerusalem. However, by far the largest crowds filled squares and streets in Tel Aviv, where mounted police attempted to push people off the roads. Furious fights broke out with officers, eventually resulting in the arrest of three protesters.

Protesters want the government to immediately reach a deal to release the remaining hostages in Gaza. They also demand Netanyahu’s resignation and new elections.

Injured man on the hood

Israeli soldiers were also criticized this weekend for their actions in the West Bank. There the soldiers had tied a wounded Palestinian to the hood of their jeep. The man had been wounded in a shooting in the West Bank and was taken for questioning. The Israeli army has admitted “the incident.” The action is said to be “not in line with the values ​​of the Israeli army.”

The video shows how two Palestinian ambulances have to avoid two army jeeps: the Palestinian, bleeding intensely, is tied to the hood of the car in front. The man had been shot in a shootout in Wadi Burqin, west of the city of Jenin. Reuters has verified the images and the place and time they were taken.

Israeli troops were searching for “terrorists” in Wadi Burqin. The man was reportedly injured in a shootout and was taken for questioning. He was later identified as Mujahed Azmi. The soldiers took him away, even though his family asked them to call an ambulance.

CNN reports that soldiers also prevented Palestinian Red Crescent medical staff from administering first aid. The soldiers left with the hooded wounded man. Only later were emergency services given permission to take him to a hospital. Nothing was known about his condition on Sunday.

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