Arrests and injuries in Israeli antigovernment protests

Thousands more to participate in nationwide demonstrations over Gaza war and the failure to negotiate the release of captives.

people hold a banner that says ceasefire now
Protesters hold a banner saying, ‘Ceasefire Now' at a protest in West Jerusalem, on June 17, 2024 [Saeed Qaq/Anadolu Images]

Al Jazeera is reporting from outside Israel because it has been banned by the Israeli government.

At least nine people have been arrested during antigovernment protests in Jerusalem, with more demonstrations expected in the coming days amid Israel’s war on Gaza and fighting with Hezbollah.

Police clashed with protesters near the residence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday night, with Israeli media reports indicating one of the detainees was a family member of an Israeli captive held in Gaza.

The demonstrators have been calling for new elections, a ceasefire in Gaza, as well as a deal for the release of captives being held in the Palestinian enclave.

“Because of you we are dying, get out of our lives,” read one sign carried by protesters, with a photo of Netanyahu and bloody handprints.

Police used water cannon against demonstrators, with three people reportedly sent to hospital for treatment, including a medic wearing a vest who was injured in the eye.

Israelis have been gathering in Tel Aviv every Saturday night since the start of the current conflict in October, but this week tens of thousands descended on Jerusalem. Demonstrators in front of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, were joined by opposition leader Yair Lapid.

police arrest a young woman at a protest
Police forcibly removed several people from the protest [Saeed Qaq/Anadolu Images]

Organisers of the antigovernment protests called for a “week of disruption”.

They also called on local authorities and business leaders to join the protests, with the aim of holding elections before the first anniversary of the Hamas-led attack in southern Israel on October 7.

Earlier on Monday, families of Israeli captives participated in one of the committees inside parliament, saying they are fed up with the absence of leadership and decision-making.

Pressure is building on Netanyahu, who dissolved the war cabinet on Monday after his rival Benny Gantz left it along with former army chief Gadi Eisenkot over the lack of a future plan for Gaza.

Reporting from Amman, Jordan, Al Jazeera’s Hamdah Salhut said protesters are also demonstrating against the prolonged conflict with Hezbollah in the north, which has displaced hundreds of thousands of Israelis for months.

“Both sides have picked up the rate of their attacks in the last few weeks. The Israelis say they’re not afraid to enter a full-blown conflict with Hezbollah. However, evacuated people who live in northern Israel have now had their date of return pushed back to the end of August,” she said.

“Demonstrations from those people against the government are now happening with protesters saying there’s no plan to deal with the relentless border fire,” Salhut said.

people at a protest with Lebanese flags and signs in Hebrew
A man holds a sign that reads in Hebrew ‘passport control’, and below him a sign depicting a Lebanese national flag, protesting against the expansion of conflict to Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, during an antigovernment demonstration in Tel Aviv [File: Jack Guez/AFP]

Amir Oren, a columnist with the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, said anger against the government is increasing from Israelis displaced in the north because of eight months of cross-border fighting with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

“Public sentiment is now against the Netanyahu government, some three-quarters of the public has had enough of Netanyahu. They want him out. But there’s no way to convert it into parliamentary power because he still has his 64-seat member coalition intact,” Oren told Al Jazeera.

“Until such time there are fissures in this coalition, the cries of the hostage families and [northern Israel] dislocated will have no effect.”

Source: Al Jazeera