Israel Delays Deportation of Palestinian Lawyer Salah Hamouri

The forced deportation of Palestinian rights lawyer Salah Hamouri will likely not take place on Sunday, as previously announced, Zo Haderech reported on Saturday. Hamouri’s lawyer, Lea Tsemel and family held a press conference in occupied East Jerusalem on Friday explaining that the lawyer will not be deported this weekend and was granted a hearing which will take place next Tuesday.But his team said the threat to deport the lawyer remains very much in place and Hammouri could be forcibly bundled onto a flight to France at any time. They have also said that despite his dual Palestinian-French nationality, Hamouri was born and raised in Jerusalem and considers the city his home.

Hamouri’s residency was revoked by Israel’s Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked in October 2021. He not only lost his right to reside in Jerusalem, his home city, but also free movement and his ability to work. Hamouri, 37, is detained without formal charge in an Israeli prison since last March.

Denise Hamouri, the mother of Att. Salah Hamouri during the press conference held in occupied East Jerusalem, last Friday, November 2, 2022 (Photo: Wafa)

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. 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.

On Thursday, the Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS) condemned the decision to deport Hamouri, after revoking his Jerusalem residency rights. PPS director Qaddoura Faris described in a statement the sudden decision to deport Hamouri to France and to revoke his Jerusalem residency as a crime. “The occupation regime and its various organs were not satisfied with the crimes committed against Hamouri over many years, but added to them an additional crime to uproot Hamouri from his homeland, his family, and his society, in an attempt to undermine his human rights and national role,” said Faris.

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.