Palestinian Lawyer Salah Hamouri is to be Deported to France on Sunday

Palestinian lawyer Salah Hamouri, 37, detained without formal charge in an Israeli prison since last March, is to be deported next Sunday to France, his family and a support group told L’Humanité” on Wednesday.

“Free Salah Hamouri” during the last Fête de l’Humanité held near Paris, September 11, 2022 (Photo: L’Humanité)

On Wednesday, the Israeli Prison Authority informed imprisoned Palestinian-French lawyer, held under Administrative Detention without charges or trial, that it revoked his Jerusalem ID card and stripped him of all residency rights in occupied Jerusalem, and will be deporting him to France upon his release. The Israeli occupation imposed a three-month “administrative detention” order against the imprisoned lawyer and renewed the order in June 2022, then renewed it again in September 2022.

Hamouri, a lawyer and a field researcher with the Addameer Prisoners’ Support and Human Rights Association, spent more than eight years in Israeli prisons, starting when he was abducted in 2001 and was sentenced to five months in prison. In 2004 he spent four months under arbitrary Administrative Detention orders without charges, then was abducted again in the year 2005 and was imprisoned for seven years, and then in the year 2017, he was abducted yet another time and spent 13 months under Administrative Detention orders, and upon his release, he received an order barring him from entering the rest of the West Bank for two years.

On June 6, 2022, Salah received another three-month Administrative Detention order just hours before his scheduled release after being imprisoned for three months under a similar order. The decision to revoke his residency was made in October of last year, 2021, after accusing him of “breeching loyalty to the state” for his human rights and legal work in defending Palestinian political prisoners.

Hamouri was born to a Palestinian father from Jerusalem where he grew up and lived, and his mother is a French national. Several years earlier, Israel deported his French wife, Elsa Lefort, to her country after detaining her at the airport in Tel Aviv for three days when she returned to Jerusalem. The lawyer and his wife have two children.

Palestinians born in occupied Jerusalem are only granted “residency status” and not citizenship of Israel despite Israel’s constant claims of “unified Jerusalem as its capital.” According a report by Amnesty International titled “Israel’s apartheid against Palestinians: a cruel system of domination and a crime against humanity” stated that Palestinians in annexed East Jerusalem are granted permanent residence instead of citizenship – though this status is permanent in name only. Since 1967, more than 14,000 Palestinians have had their residency revoked at the discretion of the Ministry of the Interior, resulting in their forcible transfer outside the city.

“Salah Hamouri’s current detention order will expire in early December, after which he faces the real possibility of deportation,” said Saha Francis, director of the Addameer Prisoners’ Support Association, speaking at the conference press conference held on Wednesday in Ramallah organized by a coalition of human rights organizations.

“Israeli authorities stripped Hamouri of his residency rights in Jerusalem in October 2021, then arrested him under the administrative detention system which is used only for West Bank Palestinians, which is a way for Israeli authorities to say that they decide who is a Jerusalemite and who isn’t,” Francis stressed. “Hamouri’s deportation would pave the way for later deportation of Jerusalemite Palestinians which will further threaten Palestinian presence in the city,” added Francis. The case of Hamouri is “an example of Israeli policy towards Palestinians in Jerusalem,” according to Munir Nuseibeh, director of the Community Action Center in Jerusalem.

Today Hamouri will receive in Paris the Engel-du Tertre Human Rights Prize, awarded by the ACAT Foundation for Human Dignity. The 2022 Prize rewards his courage and pays tribute to all human rights defenders who are banned and attacked while carrying out legitimate activities in the occupied Palestinian territories and in Israel. In Hamouri’s absence, his wife will receive the 2022 Prize in his name.