Tue. Jun 25th, 2024

After the IDF admits to accidentally killing hostages in 2023, anger at the Israeli government grows.

By Jennifer Dec 17, 2023
Β©nbc news

BY NBC NEWS

As word spread that the Israeli military had mistakenly executed three hostages in Gaza

who “had a stick with a white cloth on it,” growing resentment toward the government spilled onto the streets of Tel Aviv on Saturday.

Raz Ben Ami, who was freed from captivity late last month, spoke to a throng of hundreds in “Hostage Square,” a square in downtown Tel Aviv, saying she had “warned” the Israeli government that military activities in Gaza were placing hostages at risk and had “unfortunately” been proven correct.

The day after it was revealed that Yotam Haim, Samer Talalka, and Alon Shamriz had been murdered by fellow soldiers, feelings were raw.

Ben Ami, whose husband, Ohad Ben Ami, is still detained, said the assembly that the war cabinet of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ought to put out a plan to release the several dozen prisoners that Hamas still holds.

Ruby Chen, who holds an hourglass and whose son Itay Chen, 19, is still being held captive, stated that the government “needs to be active” in securing a new agreement. He went on to say that it was obvious the existing approach wasn’t very effective.

“He passes away too.”
Following another rally on Friday night, the protest broke out when an Israel Defense Forces spokesman disclosed on Saturday that the hostages “had a stick with a white cloth on it” prior to their execution.

The official stated that the hostages were thought to have either “been abandoned or escaped” from Hamas’ custody and that a soldier had opened fire after feeling threatened.

The official stated, “Two are killed immediately, one is injured and runs back into the building.” He continued by saying that although there had been a “cry for help” in Hebrew, “another burst of fire” had occurred, and “he also dies,” following the battalion commander’s order to cease hostilities.

Israeli
Families of Israeli captives held by Hamas rally in Tel Aviv on Saturday.Alberto Pizzoli / AFP via Getty Images

The official stated that a preliminary investigation has been initiated “at the highest level” and that the behavior “went against our rules of engagement.”

Less than a day has passed since Netanyahu posted on the social media site X expressing his sympathies to the families of the deceased.

He declared on Friday that “this evening, the entire state of Israel will mourn.” “There have been numerous events in this battle zone in recent days. All of the fighting forces on the field are currently receiving immediate lessons from the incident.

The Oct. 7 raid by Hamas claimed approximately 1,200 lives, and Israeli military sources reported that 116 troops had died in the country’s ground invasion of Gaza. Approximately 115 of the approximately 240 hostages held by Hamas are thought to still be alive, according to estimates from the Israeli prime minister’s office, since over 100 were set go during a fighting break at the end of November.

According to estimates from the UN, over 18,700 people have died within Gaza, and around 90% of the population has been displaced, with many of them surviving in appalling humanitarian conditions.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.Ronen Zvulun / Pool via AP

Lee Siegel, 71, who attended the protest on Saturday and whose brother is still being held captive by Hamas, stated that he and others needed assurances from the Israeli government that negotiating a release agreement for hostages is a high priority.

However, he declared, “I think the government has disappointed in a big way if the hostages are indeed the priority.”

On October 7, 64-year-old Keith Siegel and his 62-year-old wife Aviva Siegel were abducted from their kibbutz, Kfar Aza. While Keith Siegel, an American-Israeli dual national, was freed a few weeks ago, he is still being held captive by Hamas.

According to Lee Siegel, hostagesβ€”including his brotherβ€”won’t be freed “until there is no violence.”

“I firmly believe Israel needs to come to a government decision that we are back to negotiating and that this is what we’re going to do until we get the hostages returned,” he stated.

However, he expressed doubts that the Israeli government would take that message seriously, claiming Netanyahu seemed more concerned with his “political survival.”

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“Every motivation to continue the war”
Officials from the US and Israel have expressed concern to NBC News that parts of Netanyahu’s stance on the conflict may be motivated by a desire to maintain his political standing.

Lee Siegel stands in ‘Hostage Square’ in Tel Aviv holding up a sign with his brother’s photo.Chantal Da Silva

They claimed he has a tremendous incentive to extend Israel’s onslaught in the enclave because he is beginning to realize he won’t be able to hold onto power after the battle is over.

“He has every motivation to prolong the war, in order to secure his political survival,” a US legislator stated on Friday, requesting anonymity.

The Israel Democracy Institute’s president, Yohanan Plesner, added that Netanyahu is probably worried about what will happen “day after” the conflict.

In “the way he manages those discussions,” he said, “it seems that Netanyahu is not only concerned about how to stabilize the security situation the day after, but also how such decisions might affect his political career and how to reinvent his political posturing.”

Recent polls also indicate that Israelis will demand that those in power accept accountability for this situation, and that Netanyahu may have to answer for his actions if the war does finish. The Israeli leader’s support rating has been falling in recent weeks.

72% of the 600 Jewish and 151 Arab Israelis surveyed in a late November survey by the Israel Democracy Institute indicated they thought there would be a wave of widespread civic protests calling for those “responsible for the failures of October 7 are held to account.”

That was the opinion of at least 73% of Jewish Israelis and 64% of the comparatively smaller group of Arab Israelis surveyed.

Relatives and supporters of hostages held by Palestinian militants demonstrate outside the Israeli Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv on Friday.Ahmad Gharabli / AFP via Getty Images


Although some of the blame for the mistakes that allowed Hamas to launch its attack has been placed on Israel’s military and security chiefs, Prime Minister Netanyahu has not yet acknowledged any responsibility in public.

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Plesner stated that Netanyahu would find it challenging to broker a settlement that would release the prisoners without Hamas having to “pay a very dear price,” given the increasing number of requests for a cease-fire.

Plesner added that Netanyahu will have a new task after the conflict to persuade Israelis that “you still need me, regardless of what you think about my responsibility for Oct. 7.”

By Jennifer

FIELD REPORTER ON DPUNIV

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