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Families of hostages pitch protest tents next to prime minister’s Jerusalem residence

They will stay until Netanyahu agrees to new hostage return deal

Israelis who's family members are held hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza, set up tents during a protest outside the PM's official residence in Jerusalem, calling for the release of the hostages. Jan. 21, 2024. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Following a demonstration on Sunday, a group of relatives of hostages still being held by Hamas pitched their tents next to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem’s, vowing to stay until he agreed to a deal that would free the remaining hostages.

At first, the tents were placed on the road outside of the residence on Aza Street – blocking vehicle traffic –and were finally moved over to the sidewalk.

The demonstration, organized by the Hostages and Missing Families Forum, followed reports in the Wall Street Journal about a new hostage deal proposal offered by the United States, Egypt and Qatar that would see the war brought to an extended halt.

Protesters demanded that the government to take the deal, with one sign reading: “We love our children more than we hate Hamas.”

The Times of Israel reported that chants at the protest “walked a fine line” between holding the government accountable for the failures of Oct. 7, including the fates of the hostages, while avoiding outright condemnation.

Some of the speeches took the government to task for the reported lull in the fighting in Gaza, as Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant claim that only military pressure will cause Hamas to release the hostages.

“I live in the Gaza [border area]. I see exactly what’s going on,” said Gilad Kornhold, whose son Tal Shoham is still being held in Gaza.

“I travel in an empty Gaza [border area]; there are no planes in the sky… The war as it once was is not continuing, and they promised us that this war would free the hostages.”

Shay, the daughter of Ron Binyamin, who is also still in captivity, said that she has had enough of begging the government to return the hostages; instead, she now demands that Israel accept a deal for their return.

“All the time we hear about more abductees who were murdered as if we are in Russian roulette. I can’t just wait every day to hear which of the hostages has been executed,” she said.

Israel estimates that 132 hostages remain in captivity in the Gaza Strip, of whom 28 are thought to have been killed.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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