The below alert is largely translated from the original at Liberté pour Salah Hamouri, with additional content added for international supporters.
On 30 June 2021, notoriously far-right Israeli Minister of the Interior Ayelet Shaked, known for her call for genocide against the Palestinian people, announced on social media that she had signed papers to revoke Salah Hamouri’s residence permit in Jerusalem.
Salah Hamouri is a French-Palestinian lawyer and a former Palestinian political prisoner whose case was widely known throughout France as a symbol of injustice and false allegations until his release in 2011 in the Wafa al-Ahrar prisoner exchange, only a few months before his sentence was to end. He has spoken throughout France and internationally at events like the World Social Forum on Palestinian prisoners and the struggle for freedom.
The Israeli occupation uses the forced revocation of residency for Palestinians from East Jerusalem as a means to displace Palestinians and forcibly create a “Jewish majority” in the occupied city as well as a means to silence Palestinian activists and organizers. As noted by Al-Haq, “Revocation of permanent residency status is the most direct tool used to forcibly transfer Palestinians from East Jerusalem. This policy which has been used by Israel more than 14,500 times between 1967 and 2015, and is illegal under international law.”
Residency revocation comes hand in hand as a systematic Israeli policy with settlement construction and home demolitions – such as those in Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah – in an attempt to forcibly erase the Palestinian people from the occupied Palestinian capital, Jerusalem.
This order by the current Israeli Interior Minister implements what her predecessor had already declared in September 2020. If instituted, this measure would lead to the final expulsion of Salah Hamouri from his home city, making it impossible for Salah to live not only in Jerusalem, but anywhere in Palestine. That is to say, it would create a complete forced exile and deportation.
The decision must now be reviewed by the Israeli Justice Minister and the Attorney General.
In September 2020, French officials declared their clear opposition to this action. At that time, at the request of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, French Ambassador to Israel, Eric Danon, officially approached the Israeli Foreign Ministry for Salah Hamouri to “remain in Jerusalem” and also “allow his family to join him.”
This is only the latest attack on Salah Hamouri and his family. In 2016, Hamouri’s French wife, Elsa Lefort, was expelled from occupied Palestine. At the time, she was pregnant. Since that date, she has been banned from entering Israel on the ludicrous basis that she poses “a danger to the security of the State of Israel.” As a result, Israel has forced Salah to live apart from his wife and children. He has also been repeatedly arrested (13 months jailed without charge or trial under administrative detention in 2018-2019; detained for one week in 2020.) He is constantly subjected to interrogation and questioning and denied the ability to travel and visit his family and France. All of this is a daily form of painful psychological torture imposed on Salah and his family.
The residence permit is the only official document that allows Palestinians in Jerusalem to live in their homes, and it is issued by the Israeli authorities occupying the city. Like all Palestinians in Jerusalem, Salah Hamouri does not have a Palestinian passport and cannot obtain one.
Such a revocation of his residency would result in the final expulsion of Salah from his native land. He could no longer live in Jerusalem or even in the West Bank. This is an extremely serious attack on his fundamental freedom, formally recognized in international law, to live in his own country, on the land where he was born.
This harassment against Salah Hamouri illustrates the Israeli policy of ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem as well as the harassment of human rights defenders that Israel wants to silence.
France must now act with determination to stop this manifest injustice and guarantee the fundamental rights of its citizen Salah Hamouri: to live in Jerusalem with his wife and children, to be able to exercise his profession as defender of Palestinian political prisoners and to be able to move freely.
If you are in France or a French citizen, contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and your Members of Parliament to demand action.
* Consulat Général de France à Jérusalem
* Élysée – Présidence de la République française
If you are outside France and an international supporter, contact the addresses above or the French consulate or embassy in your area. https://www.embassypages.com/france
Send a letter with talking points:
- Salah Hamouri, Palestinian-French lawyer, is facing forced expulsion and deportation from his home country and city, Jerusalem. This act is illegal under international law and violates Salah’s fundamental human rights.
- France has continued to repeatedly support Israel’s aggression against Palestine and the Palestinian people. The ongoing attack on Salah has been enabled by this support.
- France must take a clear stand for its citizen, Salah Hamouri, and against Israel’s policies of ethnic cleansing and force displacement in Jerusalem.
- Salah Hamouri must remain in Jerusalem and his family must be free to join him.