A group of family members of hostages held captive by Hamas in Gaza arrived in Jerusalem on Saturday, continuing their efforts to pressure the Israeli government for their release. The families had walked for several days to reach the city and were met with support from thousands of protesters who gathered in front of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office.
Shortly after noon, a large number of Israelis also arrived in Jerusalem, waving Israeli flags and holding photographs of the hostages. On Tuesday, these families set off on a 60-kilometer walk to Tel Aviv to demand the release of their loved ones. However, they criticized the Israeli government for not responding to their efforts and arranged a meeting with two members of the war cabinet after today’s demonstrations. Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot will meet with the families in Tel Aviv at the headquarters of the Forum of Families of Hostages and Missing Persons.
The organization was established to provide logistical assistance to family members and relatives of around 240 hostages. Last week, negotiations were reported from several sources that aimed to release hostages held by Hamas in exchange for a pause in the fighting. New protests will take place on Saturday evening at a gathering place in Tel Aviv, where all involved parties have been coming together weekly so far.
The Hamas attack on October 7 resulted in 1200 people killed on the Israeli side, most of whom were civilians according to Israeli authorities. According to the latest information from Hamas government, over 12,000 Palestinians including 5,000 children and 3,300 women have been killed since the start of war due to Israeli bombings on Gaza Strip. The families continue their procession towards Jerusalem demanding immediate release for their loved ones while facing criticism from government for lack of response and organized negotiations with Qatar are underway for hostage release in exchange for pausing fighting.
In conclusion, both sides are suffering heavy casualties due to ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians where civilians are being affected most.