Crowds descended on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s home in Tel Aviv and cities across Israel including Jerusalem, Haifa, Karkur, Kfar Sava and others on New Year’s Eve demanding that he be removed from office immediately.
Thousands of protesters poured into Habima Square in Tel Aviv to demonstrate against the far-right government and call for immediate elections. Down the road from Habima, at Kaplan Street, several hundred “Radical Bloc” activists, among them members of Hadash (Democratic Front for Peace and Solidarity) and the Communist Party of Israel, demonstrated against the war.
Many protesters carried banners targeting Netanyahu and his fascist coalition, as well as against the war in Gaza. “The cry of mothers: Get our soldiers out of Gaza now,” read one banner, while another called for “A diplomatic agreement.”
“This is our life with Netanyahu in power: Catastrophe after catastrophe after catastrophe,” demonstrators chanted.
The same weekend, families and other supporters gathered for an 11th straight week at the renamed Hostages’ Square outside the Tel Aviv Art Museum to call for the release of those being held in Gaza. Despite increasingly vocal criticism of the government over the lack of an agreement for their release, organizers have taken pains to keep those demonstrations apolitical.
Worldwide, activists launched a global campaign asking people to turn the New Year’s countdown in their countries into a countdown for a ceasefire in Gaza, which has been under devastating Israeli bombardment since October 7.
“New Year’s Eve is a moment of celebration worldwide, and an opportunity to create resolutions for a brighter future. With nearly 30,000 civilians killed, including over 10,000 children, our only New Year’s resolution is to call for a permanent ceasefire,” Countdown2Ceasefire, a London-based grassroots campaign, said in a statement.
“Our aim is to morph the traditional New Year’s countdown into an influential and resounding countdown for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.” The campaign was embraced by activists in over 30 countries, including Switzerland, Turkiye, Malaysia, Australia, Tanzania, Mexico and Germany, according to the organizers.
“A permanent ceasefire is the first step in ending the current deplorable situation and a tangible move towards a future where traumatized communities can rebuild and recover,” Bushra Mohammad, a campaign spokeswoman, said in a statement.
Israel’s brutal military offensive in Gaza has killed more than 21,500 people and wounded more than 56,000 others, triggering a global outrage, with protesters around the world rallying to call for a ceasefire.
Many have also expressed their disappointment towards politicians and countries who vetoed or abstained from voting for a ceasefire at the United Nations. Rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Doctors Without Borders, also condemned countries vetoing a ceasefire, warning that this would result in a humanitarian disaster.
The World Food Program has warned that it’s in a race against time to avert starvation for millions in Gaza. “Only a long-term ceasefire and unhindered humanitarian access can end this,” the UN agency posted on X.
Zo HaDerekh (This Is The Way), Hebrew-language newspaper of the Communist Party of Israel
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