Palestinians live these days with the hope of holding elections and exercising their democratic right to choose their representatives. These elections will be the first to be held in fifteen years. Whenever the Palestinian dream comes close to being fulfilled, it stumbles with obstacles of the Israeli occupation, which soon turns this dream into a nightmare.
Over the past weeks, Israeli occupation forces have carried out extensive arrests of Hamas leaders, cadres, and ex-prisoners. The arrest campaign targeting Palestinian leaders in the occupied West Bank has escalated ahead of the upcoming elections. The timing of Israel's arrests especially for Hamas leaders indicates that this is an organized campaign that aims at undermining the upcoming elections announced to be held on 22 May 2021.
Hamas has condemned the campaign of arrests launched by Israeli occupation forces in occupied West Bank against several members and leaders of the movement.
Jamal al-Tawil, a Hamas leader, stated that the arrests campaigns launched by IOF against Hamas members in the occupied West Bank are an attempt to deter the implementation of the Palestinian elections.
Wasfi Qabha, a former minister in the tenth Palestinian government (formed by Hamas after winning the 2006 elections), sees the arrests as "direct Israeli interference in the Palestinian elections." "The Israeli threats are clear, and they say that they will not allow an electoral process to take place, and they will not allow Hamas to come again," he added.
Memory has returned to what happened after the previous elections in 2006 when the Palestinian people chose their representatives in elections that the world, including the United States, witnessed their integrity. At that time, Israel arrested the deputies despite their parliamentary immunity and put them in prisons without any charge other than that they represent the Palestinian people and adopt the right to resist the occupation on their land like all the peoples of the world. Back then, Israel arrested 47 deputies, including the speaker of the Legislative Council.
United Nations resolution 37/43, dated 3 December 1982, “reaffirms the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, including armed struggle.”
The odious occupation reveals its ugly face once again through its hostility to the values of freedom and democracy by imposing its control over the will of other people through the force of arms and the imbalance of global laws.
Israel has repeatedly demonstrated that it will crush all Palestinian expressions of democracy that challenge its settler-colonial regime
The right to political participation is a legitimate right guaranteed by all international laws. The international community must hold Israel accountable for its attempts to tamper with the Palestinian electoral process.
The Palestinian dream continues despite all the obstacles!