About a hundred relatives started the more than six-mile-long protest march against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office in Jerusalem on Tuesday. The aim is to shine a light on the situation of the more than 200 people held hostage by Hamas in Gaza since the terrorist organization’s attack on southern Israel on October 7.
The relatives are pressing politicians to do more to ensure the release of the hostages, who are believed to be held captive in the tunnels deep under the Gaza Strip. They demand a meeting with the war cabinet on Saturday – and criticize the government for a lack of communication.
Kamelia Hoter Yishai’s 13-year-old granddaughter was kidnapped from Kibbutz Be’eri.
“Since that terrible day, we haven’t heard anything from the government or responsible ministers, apart from the fact that she was kidnapped,” she says to Jerusalem Post.
— I ask Bibi Netanyahu to come to us, look us in the eye and tell us something, anything, so that we are not treated like monkeys. I started the march to get all the answers we deserve.
Calls for a prisoner exchange
Israeli and Arab media reports claim that negotiations are underway to get at least some of the hostages released, but there is no confirmation from either party whether such an agreement is imminent.
Relatives have asked the government to consider a ceasefire or an exchange of prisoners for the hostages. Hamas has said it could consider releasing the hostages in exchange for the release of around 6,000 Palestinians who are in Israeli prisons – but the cabinet has rejected that.