Massive Tel Aviv Rally Amid Captive Release Delay | Israel-Palestine Conflict Update

Demonstration at what has become known as ‘Hostages Square’ marked 50 days since Hamas attack on Israel.

Over 100,000 people assembled in Tel Aviv to demand the release of hostages being held by Hamas during the second day of a truce between Israel and the Palestinian group. The gathering was held near the Ministry of Defence in a location now dubbed “Hostages Square” where families and advocates called for the freeing of captives and Palestinian prisoners.

The event marked 50 days since the October 7 attack by Hamas on southern Israel and saw participants express cautious optimism as they awaited news of the deal after the delay in the release of captives and prisoners. The exchange was mediated by Qatar and Egypt, and a total of 39 Palestinians, 13 Israeli captives, and 7 foreigners were expected to be released.

The truce, which started on Friday, was delayed by Hamas who accused Israel of violating it. On Friday, 24 captives were released by Hamas, while Israel freed 39 Palestinian women and children held in its jails. The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was the subject of protests, with people gathering outside his private residence in Jerusalem, calling for his removal from office.

Alon Hadar, whose grandmother Yaffa was released by Hamas on Friday, said, “she gives us the hope that all will return, but we know we have to fight for the release of all”. Singer Ehud Banai emphasized the significance of returning hostages and the hope that the upcoming Hanukkah holiday would bring light to this dark time.

Throughout the rally, participants, including members of the Druze community, wore “Bring Them Home” campaign T-shirts and displayed placards with the names and pictures of the captives, illustrating their desire for the safe return of their loved ones.

“Our hearts are broken until we see all of them home,” Banai expressed to the crowd, reflecting the feelings of many at the event.

The demonstration in Tel Aviv was the largest seen since the war began, with people attending in solidarity to spread a message of hope and continued support for the captives’ release. They vowed to persist with these rallies until all of the hostages are brought back from Gaza.

Overall, Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through its mediation efforts, ensured that the exchange of captives took place, providing relief for the Israeli demonstrators awaiting the captives’ return. The demonstration served as a stark reminder of the human toll of conflicts and the unyielding hope and support displayed by the families and advocates of the hostages.


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