In Jerusalem, far-right members of Israeli’s parliament on Monday got into a shouting match with family members of hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza. Lawmakers were debating a bill to impose the death penalty on “terrorists.” The bill was advanced by Israel’s ultranationalist national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, who was once convicted by an Israeli court of racist incitement against Palestinians and supporting a terrorist group. Family members condemned the death penalty bill, saying it endangered efforts to win the release of their abducted relatives. This is Udi Goren, whose cousin is being held captive in Gaza.
Udi Goren: “This is incredibly disappointing, because I feel that at this point, when we know that taking down Hamas, we keep hearing from them, is going to take months or years, and it’s going to take a long time; on the other hand, the other objective is time-sensitive. People are dying. We know that for sure.”
One hostage family member yelled at Ben-Gvir in the Knesset session, “You care more about killing Arabs than saving Jewish lives.”
Meanwhile, Al Jazeera reports Qatar-brokered talks for a deal that would see Hamas release some of its hostages in exchange for a three- to five-day pause in fighting are at a “critical and final stage.” Hamas officials said they were “close to reaching a truce agreement.”