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Israel deports Palestinian lawyer Salah Hamouri to France over security, interior ministry says

Israel deported French-Palestinian human rights lawyer Salah Hamouri to France on Sunday, accusing him of security offences, the Israeli interior ministry said in a statement.

December 18, 2022 at 12:10 pm

Israel deported French-Palestinian human rights lawyer Salah Hamouri to France on Sunday, accusing him of security offences, the Israeli interior ministry said in a statement reports Reuters.

Hamouri, 37, a lifelong Jerusalem resident, was escorted to the airport where he boarded an early morning flight to France with his supporters saying there was no legal recourse for him to take.

Israel revoked Hamouri’s residency on December 1 on charges that he was active in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, classified by Israel and its Western allies as a terror group.

He was previously convicted by Israel of attempting to assassinate Sephardi rabbi Ovadia Yossef, the founder of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, but he has always maintained his innocence.

“During his life he organised, inspired and planned to commit terror attacks on his own and for the organisation against citizens and well-known Israelis,” a statement from the interior ministry said.

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Hamouri’s supporters said the deportation constituted a breach of international law.

“Wherever a Palestinian goes, he takes with him these principles and the cause of his people: his homeland carried with him to wherever he ends up,” Hamouri said in a statement.

Hamouri, who was most recently detained by Israel under administrative detention without charge on March 7 until Dec. 1.

Hamouri was one of 1,027 prisoners Israel freed in 2011 in exchange for soldier Gilad Shalit, who was held captive by Hamas in the Gaza Strip for more than five years.

Hamouri holds citizenship of France through his mother.

France’s foreign ministry denounced his deportation and said that the French government had actively sought to defend his rights and has been in contact with Israeli authorities multiple times.

“We condemn the Israeli authorities’ decision against the law to deport Salah Hamouri to France,” the ministry said in a statement.

The overwhelming majority of East Jerusalem’s more than 340,000 Palestinians hold Israeli residency permits but few have citizenship in Israel, which considers the entire holy city as its eternal, undivided capital. The Palestinians have long sought the city’s east, which Israel captured in a 1967 war and later annexed in a move not recognised internationally, as the capital of a future state.

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Jessica Montell, executive director of HaMoked, an NGO which represents Hamouri, told Reuters that Hamouri’s case sets a precedent for the deportation of Jerusalemites who hold alternative citizenship.

“Because he holds a second nationality, that makes him more vulnerable to deportation,” said Montell, adding that she expects similar cases will emerge more frequently with a new right-wing coalition expected to form Israel’s next government.

Ahmed Majdalani, a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, called the deportation unlawful.

“He didn’t commit any crime to be deported from his homeland and be expelled into another country, where he had stayed for a short period even if he holds the nationality of that country,” Majdalani told Reuters.

Salah Hamouri behind Israei bars - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Salah Hammouri behind Israeli bars – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]