Salah Hamouri, Palestinian-French lawyer and human rights defender, former political prisoner repeatedly targeted by the Israeli occupation, is now being subjected to Israel’s ongoing project of systematically removing Palestinians from Jerusalem. On Monday, 18 October, Ayelet Shaked, Israel’s notoriously far-right Interior Minister, issued an order stripping Hamouri of his residency in Jerusalem, the city in which he was born and in which he lives, after multiple threats to do so. The order, initiated by Shaked (and her predecessor Aryeh Deri) was approved by the Israeli attorney general and Minister of Justice.
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.”
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.
We are republishing the call of the Committee to Support Salah Hamouri below (originally in French). We join the call for mobilization and organizing to confront this latest injustice visited upon Salah Hamouri and his family.
The call follows:
This Monday, 18 October, Salah Hamouri was notified that the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of Israel validated the request for revocation of his permanent residency status in Jerusalem. This revocation was requested by Ayalet Shaked, Israeli Minister of the Interior, on 30 June 2021 and was to be examined by these two other authorities with a view to its application.
This is therefore a new step taken by Israel towards the expulsion of Salah Hamouri from his native land. It follows an escalation of arbitrary decisions against our fellow citizen: interrogations, ban on entry into the West Bank, expulsion of his wife and child, detention, restrictions on movement …
For years, Israel has persecuted this human rights defender and the revocation of his Jerusalem residency would have the pure and simple consequence: exile.
On July 8, 2021, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared following the request for revocation of residency by Ayalet Shaked: “The services of the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs in Paris, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are fully mobilized so that Salah Hamouri can assert all of his rights and lead a normal life in Jerusalem, where he resides. The situation of Salah Hamouri is being followed closely and at a high level by the French authorities.”
With this iniquitous decision, after the Pegasus affair, and beyond Salah Hamouri, France receives a new slap from Israel, a slap all the more harsh and inadmissible as it affects human rights.
The current French diplomatic policy shows itself incapable of ensuring that the law is protected and that it is respected.
We are not resigned to this situation. We call on the French authorities to draw all the conclusions from this new decision and to implement all the consequences. We call on citizens to mobilize in their diverse means to confront this challenge against human rights, to demonstrate against this denial of rights by an Israeli government that believes itself – and encourages that it is held – above all.
Call on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, your Parliamentarians, human rights associations to allow the annulment of this decision
Paris, October 18, 2021
Support Committee for Salah Hamouri
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, has been ordered expelled and deported 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 forced displacement in Jerusalem.
- Salah Hamouri must remain in Jerusalem and his family must be free to join him.