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Gaza hostage families disrupt Israeli parliament meeting, calling for action

Gaza hostage families disrupt Israeli parliament meeting, calling for action Gaza hostage relatives near Israeli PM's residence (Getty Images)

Family members of Israelis who were taken hostage by Palestinian Hamas in Gaza disrupted a meeting of parliament committee in Jerusalem on Monday, according to Reuters.

They desperately demanded the lawmakers to make more effort to help release their family members amid the fourth month of the Israel-Hamas war.

Some people held pictures of their family members who were among the 253 people taken in October 2023. About 130 are still in captivity while some were released in November.

The protesters demanded action, holding signs that said "Release them now!" and "You will not sit here while they die there" during the Knesset Finance Committee discussion.

Inside the parliament, known as the Knesset, no one has been reported being arrested. The Israeli police say that many protesters blocked the entrance to the Knesset. Those causing trouble were moved back to the designated protest area so that the protest proceeded lawfully, as stated by the police.

Political discontent growing in Israel

Relatives and backers have set up camps outside both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence and the Knesset building.

"We will not leave him until the hostages are back," said Eli Stivi, his son is taken by Hamas. Another woman protester cried "Just one I'd like to get back alive, one out of three!"

Gaza hostage families disrupt Israeli parliament meeting, calling for actionPortraits of Gaza hostages near the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem (Getty Images)

Protests demanding the release of the hostages have been happening regularly. In recent weeks, there have also been rallies calling for an election to change the government. In 2023, anti-government protests stopped after the Hamas attack in October. Now, with the war continuing and support for the Prime Minister dropping, calls for leadership changes are getting stronger.

The PM told the hostage families that "Hamas has made no solid offer that would see their loved ones freed."

"There is no real proposal by Hamas. It's not true. I am saying this as clearly as I can because there are so many incorrect statements which are certainly agonizing for you," Netanyahu's Office said in a statement to the protesters.

Attempts to resolve the release

After the attack on Israel on October 7, Hamas militants killed 1,200 civilians and soldiers and kidnapped about 250 people. Subsequently, through a hostage exchange, the terrorists released about 120 hostages, and Israel released a group of Palestinian prisoners.

Efforts by the U.S., Qatar, and Egypt to negotiate a release don't seem to be bringing a resolution. The fate of the hostages has become a big concern in Israel, but some worry that people may lose focus because of war fatigue.

Netanyahu earlier rejected the terms Hamas proposed to stop the war and free the hostages, as they included Israel pulling out completely and allowing Hamas to stay in control in Gaza. He named three conditions for ending the war against Palestinian militants Hamas in the Gaza Strip.