Israel Deports Detainee Palestinian-French Lawyer

Israel deported a Palestinian-French lawyer, Salah Hamouri to France early Sunday morning, in a case that an Israeli lawmaker, Ofer Cassif (Hadash), called a “gross violation of basic rights.” Hamouri, 37, had been held under a controversial practice known as administrative detention, which allows suspects to be detained for renewable periods of up to six months.

He “was deported this morning to France following Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked’s decision to withdraw his residency status”, the ministry said in a statement. There had been increasing indications since Friday evening that Hamouri would be expelled. Hadash lawmaker Aida Touma-Sliman on Saturday wrote to Defence Minister Benny Gantz in an appeal to prevent Hamouri’s deportation.

Att. Salah Hamouri arrives in Paris after he was deported from Israel, on December 18, 2022 (Photo: Free Salah Hamouri Committee)

“Deporting a Palestinian from their homeland for breach of allegiance to the state of Israel is a dangerous precedent and a gross violation of basic rights,” Israeli human rights organization HaMoked said in a statement on Sunday.

France’s Foreign Ministry said the deportation was “against the law.” The ministry said France has been working “to ensure that Mr. Salah Hamouri’s rights are respected, that he benefits from all means of recourse and that he can lead a normal life in Jerusalem, where he was born, resides and wishes to live.” The statement from the foreign ministry expressed France’s opposition to the expulsion of a Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem, an occupied territory under the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

Earlier this month, Israeli authorities confirmed the revocation of his residency, paving the way for Hamouri’s imminent expulsion despite a new administrative detention hearing scheduled for January 1. “It is a great achievement to have been able to cause, just before the end of my term, his expulsion,” Interior Minister Shaked said on Sunday.

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.