Detained French-Palestinian lawyer Salah Hamouri faces forced deportation at any time #JusticeforSalah

Detained French-Palestinian lawyer Salah Hamouri is threatened with deportation from his homeland, occupied Palestine, at any moment by Israeli occupation regime officials. While his deportation was originally announced for 4 December, he was then ordered held for further hearings on 6 December 2022. However, rather than legally delaying his deportation, he was ordered transferred from the Hadarim prison, where Palestinian political prisoners (labeled “security detainees”) are held, to pre-deportation detention  at 2:30 am on Tuesday, 6 December.

Salah Hamouri, a Palestinian human rights defender and lawyer working for the freedom of political prisoners, has been jailed without charge or trial since March 2022 and his arbitrary administrative detention repeatedly renewed.

On Monday, 5 December, the Justice for Salah campaign reported that Hamouri was taken to another hearing at Givon prison in al-Ramleh, where he was once again denied access to his lawyers or legal representation, as was the case at the earlier hearing on 1 December, following Israeli interior minister Ayelet Shaked’s order for his deportation. The campaign reported that the French consul in Tel Aviv was able to speak only briefly to Salah.

Two hearings have been scheduled in the occupation courts on 6 December: the first at 11:00 am and the second at 1:30 pm, with the first hearing concerning the order of deportation imposed on him and the second regarding his detention prior to deportation. “As of today, Salah is held in detention as a deportee,” the campaign noted. His family has been denied access to both hearings, but he is expected to have access to his legal counsel as well as the French consul. The campaign affirmed that Salah Hamouri rejects any deportation from Palestine and all of the illegitimate measures and procedures against him by the occupation regime.

Since June 2021, the human rights defender has been fighting against the attempt by the Israeli authorities to forcibly deport him by depriving him of his identity and residence in Jerusalem, the city in which he was born and where he lives. The fascist interior minister Ayelet Shaked signed the order to revoke his Jerusalem identity and forcibly expel him in 2021 — and he was arrested and thrown in administrative detention only days after publishing a major international essay fighting back against the attempt to expel him from his homeland and home city. She announced on 1 December that she had signed an order revoking his residency and ordering his deportation, which Salah Hamouri completely rejects.

This attack on Salah Hamouri is an integral part of the policy of ethnic cleansing perpetrated by Zionist colonial forces in the Palestinian capital, Jerusalem. Indeed, Israel has withdrawn residence permits from more than 14,600 Palestinians since 1967, which constitutes a war crime.

As France attempts to criminalize the boycott of Israel and ban organizations working for justice in Palestine, such as the Collectif Palestine Vaincra (a member organization of the Samidoun Network), it once again shows its complicity with Israeli apartheid by its near total inaction to uphold the rights of Salah Hamouri despite the positive positions taken by the mobilization of hundreds of associations, parliamentarians and local elected officials. French officials have expressed that Salah should be able to live free with his family in Jerusalem, but France must impose real pressure to defend its citizen’s rights — including imposing sanctions on the Israeli regime, cutting off the arms trade and, practically and immediately, refusing to accept a deportation flight for Salah Hamouri.

Both Salah’s mother, Denise Hamouri, and his wife, Elsa Lefort, have made appeals to French officials to take meaningful action to stop the deportation of Salah.

Denise Hamouri wrote, “Salah must not be deported, he must be able to stay in Jerusalem with his family as he wishes, this must be a strong demand on your part, Salah is French, I am French, my children are French, his wife and children are French, it is your responsibility Mr President. Moreover, the withdrawal of Salah’s residency card and his deportation from Jerusalem are very serious facts and an open door to other similar actions on other Palestinians in the city with the long-term objective of emptying Jerusalem of its Arab inhabitants. A hearing is to be held on Tuesday to finalize the terms of his expulsion, so we have a few days left and a little hope, we ask you to act as firmly as possible Mr. President.”

Elsa Lefort wrote, “20 years that France does not do much, not enough to defend its citizen, also Palestinian. If Salah were expelled from his native land, it would be a pain for him and for all those who love him and who know how much Salah and Jerusalem are one. That he walked each of the alleys of the old city, that a journey with him in Jerusalem is punctuated by dozens of greetings, exchanges and smiles. Salah is a son of Jerusalem, Jerusalem will never leave Salah, that’s for sure. If he were to be forcibly expelled, Israel would be committing a war crime. One more. Emmanuel Macron , France should be proud to have among its children a man who stands up against the occupation, despite the blows, despite the suffering, he refuses to bend. France must not remain silent in the face of this war crime which affects one of its own. Mr. President, you are the only one who can obtain justice and freedom for Salah Hamouri….Mr. President, why have you never publicly mentioned Salah’s name? Doesn’t he deserve to be defended with as much vigor as the other French people?”

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network denounces the attempt to strip Salah Hamouri of his Jerusalemite identity and his Palestinian presence in the land of Palestine. We demand an end to the ongoing imprisonment of Salah Hamouri, the use of administrative detention to target Palestinian leaders and human rights defenders, and the ongoing Israeli ethnic cleansing project in Jerusalem targeting the Palestinian people and identity of the city, the capital of Palestine. We urge all supporters of Palestine to take action to demand the liberation of Salah Hamouri and every Palestinian prisoner jailed in the occupation prisons.