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Hostage relatives arrested at protest after negotiations in Qatar collapse

Netanyahu says ‘Israel will not submit to delusional Hamas demands, will continue war goals’

Demonstrators block the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv during a protest calling for the release of Israeli hostages held in the Gaza Strip, March 26, 2024 (Photo: Chaim Goldberg/Flash90).

After negotiations for a hostage deal in Doha, Qatar collapsed on Tuesday due to Hamas' unwillingness to compromise – and a hardened stance – several families of hostages still held in Gaza took to the streets of Tel Aviv to express their frustration over the failure to secure an agreement.

The families demonstrated outside of the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv, a frequent meeting place of the Israeli War Cabinet, until the police dispersed the group. Dozens of protesters then moved to the Ayalon Highway, blocking traffic before being removed by police. 

Some of the protesters sat in cages, holding images of hostages or signs calling for their release. 

Police reported the arrest of four people during the protests, two of whom were family members of hostages still being held captive in Gaza. 

According to Hebrew media reports, the arrested individuals are relatives of Avraham Munder (78), who was taken captive on Oct. 7 along with his wife, Ruti Munder (78), his daughter Keren Munder (54) and grandson Ohad, age 9. 

Ruti, Keren and Ohad were released at the end of November during the hostage deal, but Avraham remains in captivity.

Police claimed that the protest was illegal, as no prior permission had been given, however, they allowed the demonstrators to gather outside the Kirya. 

“Israel Police acted with the required sensitivity and allowed the protest of some of the hostages’ families even though it wasn’t legal,” the police said in a statement. 

The arrests came after some of the protesters blocked traffic on Ayalon Highway. 

“However, some of the protesters decided to go down to Ayalon Highway and block traffic, endangering motorists and themselves, and blatantly disrupting public order,” the statement continued. 

Negotiations broke down over the weekend after Israel accepted the terms of a U.S. compromise, which would have seen the release of 700-800 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails in exchange for 40 Israeli hostages. 

Despite Israel’s acceptance of the compromise deal, Hamas rejected the offer and continued to demand the full withdrawal of all IDF troops from the Gaza Strip, as well as a permanent ceasefire. 

Upon the delegation returning from Qatar, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reaffirmed: “Israel will not submit to Hamas's delusional demands and will continue to act to achieve all the goals of the war: To release all the hostages, to destroy Hamas's military and governmental capabilities, and to ensure that Gaza will no longer pose a threat to Israel.” 

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

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