News about the Israel-Hamas and Gaza War: Latest updates

Israel’s parliament will become the focus of rising anti-government protests on Monday as the country prepares to open its summer session after a six-week break.

Questions are being raised about the stability of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition, and the protests, mainly calling for early elections, come days after deep divisions in the emergency cabinet. war. rush in open.

Before the attack on southern Israel on October 7, mass protesting against the judicial reform plan, fueled by Netanyahu’s far-right and religiously extremist ruling coalition, has rocked Israel for months. Grassroots leaders of those anti-government protests largely backed down after the Hamas-led attacks, but on Monday, during the “Day of Disturbance,” many reemerged to protest. leader of the protests.

Shikma Bressler, a particle physicist became the face of the protest last year but has downplayed its reputation as Israel wages war in Gaza, led an action on Monday that saw convoys of hundreds of cars slow down highways across the country , blocking traffic and converging on Jerusalem.

A large protest was planned outside Parliament to coincide with the parliamentary opening ceremony, scheduled to begin at 4pm.

There is a growing sense in Israel that the appearance of national unity inspired by October 7 and the war, as well as the period of grace for Mr. Netanyahu, is over.

A protest group called Brothers and Sisters in Arms, made up of military reservists, returned to the main Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway on Monday morning, holding portraits of hostages still in Gaza. The group emerged during last year’s protests against justice reform plans.

At the time, the group made controversial calls for reservists to volunteer to leave the military, arguing that the justice plan undermined the democracy they had signed up to serve. But on October 7, the group’s leaders suddenly reversed course and called on all those who had received military call-ups to join the fight.

The 2023 protests focused on domestic issues such as judicial reform plans, the nature of Israeli democracy, and religious-secular tensions. In contrast, the scattered protests that have increased in recent months have focused on demands that the government bring hostages home and take responsibility for policy and intelligence failures before October 7.

Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, has so far refused to accept any personal responsibility for those failures. His Defense Minister, Yoav Gallant; and Benny Gantz, a former army chief and another key member of the war cabinet, implicitly accused Netanyahu of putting his own political survival above national security by appeasing his opponents. his far-right alliance in the way he is waging war.

Mr. Gantz and Mr. Gallant have, in recent days, publicly asked Mr. Netanyahu to come up with a decisive and coherent strategy for post-war Gaza, where Hamas continues to return to areas that the Israeli military claimed. know they have cleared it. Mr. Gantz gave an ultimatum that he would leave the government before June 8 if there was no clear path forward.

He said at the time that Mr. Gantz’s centrist National Unity party joined the government in October out of a sense of responsibility. His party’s departure will not oust Netanyahu, whose coalition will still hold a 64-seat majority in the 120-seat National Assembly.

But Monday’s protests underscored popular frustration with the government, which has so far failed to achieve its stated goal of eliminating Hamas in Gaza.

“No majority of 64 is going to stop the people,” Ms. Bressler, the protest leader, said as the motorcade prepared to leave.


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