Israeli forces on Tuesday evening re-arrested a freed Palestinian detainee who had spent nearly 20 years in Israeli jails, less than 24 hours after his release.
The re-arrest of 45-year-old Majd Barbar, who had been detained by Israel in 2001 and released on Monday evening, occurred in the midst of a celebration organised at his house in the Ras Al-Amoud area of Jerusalem to welcome him home.
Israeli forces stormed Barbar’s home, which was crowded with guests, and used tear gas and rubber bullets against those present, injuring at least twelve people.
Barbar’s brother, Izzedin Barbar, told The New Arab’s Arabic-language service that the Israeli troops entered the family home and ordered the removal of all the banners and festive decorations celebrating Majd’s release.
The troops then came back in greater numbers and attacked the celebration attendees, using tear gas and rubber bullets and injuring twenty people, according to Izzedin Barbar.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said in a brief statement that it had treated 12 people for injuries caused by tear gas, rubber bullets, and beatings.
Majd Barbar was taken to the Russian Compound prison in southern Israel following his re-arrest. Mohammed Mahmoud, a Palestinian lawyer said that the Israeli army had extended his detention until Wednesday.
Barbar had originally been arrested by Israeli forces on March 30 2001 and was later sentenced to 20 years in prison. Palestinian websites said that this was for resistance activities against the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
He was released on Monday on completion of his sentence, and the release was widely celebrated by Palestinians in Jerusalem, with crowds turning out to welcome him.
Posts about Barbar were also widely shared on social media. One post showed Barbar’s daughter, Zaina, who was only 15 days old when he was arrested in 2001, emotionally welcoming her father home.
Palestinian news websites said that the celebrations of Barbar’s release prompted Israel to re-arrest him.
Israel detains Palestinians daily in East Jerusalem and the West Bank and is currently holding more than 4,000 Palestinians, including 140 children, in detention. Some Palestinians are in “administrative detention” without charge.
The re-arrest of Barbar caused outrage across the Arab world. The well-known Al-Jazeera TV presenter Ghada Oueiss said on her Facebook page that Israeli forces arrested Barbar “because he and his family were celebrating”, describing Israel as a “racist” state, opposed to any sign of Palestinian happiness.