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Israel to celebrate 76th Independence Day


Israel to celebrate 76th Independence Day

Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Israel celebrates Yom Ha’atzmaut—the country’s Independence Day—for the first time since the beginning of the conflict in Gaza.

The usual National Day fireworks displays are expected to be omitted this year. While the government will likely emphasize the national trauma of the October 7 massacre and the ongoing struggle against Hamas, both domestic and overseas protests against it are also likely to continue. Last Saturday, thousands of Israelis took to the streets to demand early elections and the resignation of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israel’s international support for its war against Hamas has also dropped sharply. Last December, 153 out of the UN General Assembly’s 193 member states voted for a ceasefire and on March 25, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution demanding both an immediate ceasefire and the unconditional release of the Israeli hostages still held by Hamas. Both Israel and Hamas have not adhered to the ruling.

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Israel’s most important ally—the US—is halting weapons shipments to persuade it to stop its advance on the Gazan city of Rafah. However, Israel refuses to accept an agreement that would leave Hamas in power, while Hamas will only release all hostages after the commencement of a permanent ceasefire. Nonetheless, both international and domestic pressure will continue to grow for Israel to stop the fighting and for Netanyahu to step down. This pressure will likely lead to a humanitarian ceasefire in the short to medium term, although lasting peace is unlikely while Hamas remains in power. In addition, Israel will likely require a new government before it can regain international support from Western countries.

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