Outrage in Tel Aviv after Israel mistakenly kills three hostages

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NEW DELHI: Outrage surfaced on the streets of Tel Aviv on Saturday as news surfaced that the Israeli military had mistakenly killed three of their own people in Gaza.
Following the news of the deaths of hostages Yotam Haim, Samer Talalka, and Alon Shamriz, emotions ran high. The demonstration, subsequent to a previous gathering on Friday night, erupted in response to revelations from an official in the Israel Defense Forces that the hostages “had a stick with a white cloth on it” before they were killed.
Raz Ben Ami, who was freed from captivity just last month, addressed a gathering at ‘Hostage Square’ in downtown Tel Aviv, and said that she had warned the Israeli government that military operations in Gaza were putting hostages at risk and had unfortunately been proven right, reported NBC.
Addressing the crowd, Ben Ami, whose husband Ohad Ben Ami is still held captive, said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s war Cabinet should propose a plan for the release of numerous individuals still detained by Hamas.

Ruby Chen, mother of 19-year-old hostage Itay Chen, clutching an hourglass said that the government “needs to be active” in negotiating a new deal. The current strategy of releasing the hostages “wasn’t working that well, Chen added.
According to the official, it was believed that the hostages had either “been abandoned or escaped” from Hamas’ captivity. This led to a situation where a soldier felt threatened, prompting them to open fire.
“Two are killed immediately, one is injured and runs back into the building,” the official said. He added that “cry for help” had been heard in Hebrew, but after the battalion commander issued a cease-fire order there was “another burst of fire,” and “he also dies.”
An immediate inquiry has been initiated “at the highest level,” the official mentioned, adding that the actions taken were in violation of established rules of engagement.
These remarks followed less than a day after Prime Minister Netanyahu extended his condolences to the families of the deceased through a post on the social media platform X.

“The entire state of Israel will mourn this evening,” he said Friday. “This is a combat zone where there have been many incidents in recent days. Immediate lessons from the event are now being passed on to all the fighting forces in the field.”
During the Saturday demonstration, Lee Siegel, aged 71, whose brother is still detained by Hamas, said that the Israeli government needs to provide him and others assurance that securing a hostage release deal remains a primary objective.
“I think that if the hostages are indeed the priority then the government has disappointed in a big way,” he added.
Keith Siegel, aged 64, and his wife, Aviva Siegel, aged 62, were abducted from their residence at kibbutz Kfar Aza on Oct. 7. While Aviva Siegel was released several weeks ago, Keith Siegel, an American-Israeli dual national, continues to remain in Hamas’ captivity.
Lee Siegel said he believes hostages, including his brother, will only be released “when 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 said.
However, he said he was unconvinced that this message would resonate with Israel’s leadership, suggesting that Netanyahu seemed more preoccupied with his “political survival.”
American and Israeli officials have told NBC News that certain stances adopted by Netanyahu during the war might be driven by a desire to extend his political tenure.
There’s a growing belief that he may struggle to retain authority once the conflict subsides, which could be a significant motivation for prolonging Israel’s offensive in the region.
“He has every incentive to keep the war going, to ensure his political survival,” one US lawmaker, who asked not to be named, said Friday.
President of the Israel Democracy Institute, Yohanan Plesner said Netanyahu is likely to have serious concerns about the “day after” the war.

“There, it seems that Netanyahu is not only worried 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” in “the way he manages those discussions,” he added.
With increasing demands for a cease-fire, Plesner said that the challenge for Netanyahu is negotiating a deal to secure the hostages’ release from Hamas without Hamas having to “pay a very dear price.”
Post-war, Plesner added that Netanyahu will face the fresh challenge of convincing Israelis “you still need me, regardless of what you think about my responsibility for October 7.”
Polls in recent weeks also suggest Israelis will demand for top authorities to take responsibility for the crisis.
According to a late November survey by the Israel Democracy Institute, 72% of 600 Jewish Israelis and 151 Arab Israelis surveyed anticipate widespread civil protests, urging those “responsible for the failures of October 7 are held to account.”
(With input from agencies)



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