France Criticizes Israel for Prolonging Detention of Palestinian Attorney Detainee

An Israeli court has extended the administrative detention of French-Palestinian human rights defender and lawyer Salah Hamouri, pending a further hearing about his proposed deportation to France. He is being held with neither charge nor trial. Israel reaffirmed the revocation of Hamouri’s permanent residency in Jerusalem on 30 November. The threat to deport him is still very much real despite France condemning the planned expulsion in an online briefing on Monday.

Elsa Lefort, Salah Hamouri’s wife, during an interview with a French TV news station, last Wednesday, December 7, 2022 (Footage: France 24)

According to Addameer Human Rights Association, the decision to deport Jerusalem-born Hamouri from his home in occupied East Jerusalem having revoked his residency permit will be finalized in the hearing scheduled for 1 January. However, under administrative detention, he can be held indefinitely on the basis of secret evidence that he cannot challenge. Experts have said that he is alleged to have been involved in “terrorist activities” and a “breach of allegiance” to the occupation state.

The French Foreign Ministry confirmed on Wednesday that its consul general in Tel Aviv assisted in the two court hearings Dec. 6 on Hamouri, in detention in Israel since March 2022urging Israeli authorities to release the detained citizen, and allow him to reside with his family in Jerusalem.

”We continue to be committed in our efforts for [Hamouri] to be able to exercise the totality of his rights and [for him] to lead a normal life in Jerusalem, his city of birth and residence,” noted the French foreign ministry.  Paris reiterated its commitment to continue with its efforts to ensure his release instead of expulsion. On Tuesday, the French consulate in Jerusalem tweeted, “We have made our position clear to Israel. Salah Hamouri must not be expelled.”

Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said: “Salah Hamouri has already spent nine months in administrative detention without charge or trial this year in retaliation for his tireless campaigning for an end to Israel’s apartheid against Palestinians. These latest plans are not only a shameless attempt to hinder Salah’s human rights work, they are also an expression of the Israeli authorities’ chilling long-term policy aim of reducing the number of Palestinians in East Jerusalem. 

Unlawful deportation from the Occupied Palestinian Territories constitutes a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and a war crime. Deportation carried out to maintain a system of apartheid constitutes a crime against humanity. These crimes are all in the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, whose Prosecutor has opened an investigation into the situation in Palestine. We reiterate our call for the crime of apartheid to be included in that investigation; Israeli authorities must be held accountable. This persecution must end now. Israeli authorities must release Salah Hamouri, restore his residency status in Jerusalem, and allow him to continue his human rights work without fear of reprisals,” she added.