Just one day after his release from an Israeli prison he had spent 20 years in, Majd Barbar, a Palestinian, was re-arrested during a homecoming celebration. In 2001, Barbar was arrested for his involvement in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine movement and his role in armed resistance. The storming of his home on Tuesday is just another example of Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.
Although Barbar was freed once again, what Israeli forces did is nothing new. Barbar is just one in hundreds of thousands of Palestinians jailed by Israel since 1967, when Israel began its military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.
“The Israeli authorities often re-arrest freed Palestinian prisoners from East Jerusalem and hold them for few days to prevent their families, friends and neighbors from celebrating their release and in a way to disrupt his homecoming,” said WAFA News Agency about the disruption. “The police also ban families from holding any celebrations.”
Just last month was also Israel’s fourth election since 2019, which meant that some of the nation’s well-known extremist politicians would now be entering parliament, including Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir. The former is known to have caused quite the controversy in recent years. He supports segregation between Jewish and Arab women, opposes Israeli Jews selling homes to Palestinians and favors a “shoot to kill” policy targeting Palestinians on stolen Palestinian land. The latter really isn’t that different. He’s a follower of anti-Arab fascist Meir Kahane, the leader of a violent and ethnic cleansing movement against Palestinians.
With the Religious Zionism coalition having won at least six parliament seats, it is not just Palestinians who have a new major target on their backs. The party has expressed hostility toward the LGBTQIA+ movement in Israel. Their proud homophobia and racism is not something they try to hide. Most voters also said they supported the coalition due their interest in settler rights, as if land theft deserves to be justified.
But let’s look at someone else who, unlike most of the Israeli people who disagree with this extremist agenda, has his reasons to negotiate with the new parliament members: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Having been indicted in three cases of fraud, breach of trust and bribery, Netanyahu can no longer rely on the moderate and centrist parties to stand by him. So, like usual, democracy has died in Israel who very clearly seeks to crush the Palestinians.
Netanyahu’s corruption trial has just begun, and if convicted he will be forced from office, but, even if he is removed, what is likely to change? The extremists’ policies are already growing popular among the people. Let’s also not forget that Arab representation dropped during elections. Chances are that voters are just left unsure if voting will make a difference by this point.
The relationship between Palestine and Israel has always held an uncertain future, but now it seems a bit more clearer. It’s likely that violence will just increase as Israeli settlers attack Palestinians, children are gunned down and, even without Netanyahu, extremists stay stronger.