Israeli interior minister reiterates plans to deport French-Palestinian lawyer Salah Hamouri #JusticeforSalah #LiberezSalah

Salah Hamouri, the French-Palestinian lawyer and human rights defender, remains under constant threat of forcible deportation from Jerusalem at any time. While a court hearing has been scheduled in his case on 1 January, the Israeli interior minister — the notoriously far-right Ayelet Shaked — announced on Friday, 9 December, that she rejected the arguments put forward by Salah’s lawyers at the 6 December court hearing and that she sees no reason to reconsider his deportation or detention, the Justice for Salah campaign reported.

The campaign noted that “The hearing that is scheduled for 1 Jan 2023, is no guarantee that Salah will not be deported before that date,” linking this process to the ongoing psychological torture and harassment directed against Hamouri and his family. Salah Hamouri is currently detained without charge or trial at Hadarim prison as a “high-security detainee.” Campaigners also warned about the upcoming December holidays, noting that Israeli officials may seek to take advantage of the distraction to force deportation on Salah, who was born and lives in his home city of Jerusalem, Palestine.

Member of European Parliament Manu Pineda, who chairs the commission on relations with Palestine, denounced the order to deport Salah Hamouri:

Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, where Salah works as a lawyer and field researcher, noted:

On 2 December 2022, United Nations experts, including the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, and the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism, called for a full investigation and accountability for alleged Israeli war crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territory, emphasizing that “ “forcibly deporting protected persons from the occupied territory and forcing their allegiance to the occupying power, constitute grave breaches of international humanitarian law.” Further, on 2 December 2022, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and many other national and international civil society organisations, urged French President Emmanuel Macron to act immediately against the forcible deportation of Salah Hammouri and stop the war crime against him and the precedent it sets. We note the French Government’s opposition to Salah Hammouri’s forcible deportation and efforts to ensure he is allowed to live a normal life in his hometown Jerusalem. However, due to the gravity of the situation, we urge for more concrete measures to prevent Salah’s forcible deportation.

The International Association of Democratic Lawyers adopted a resolution on 4 December urging the immediate release of Salah Hamouri and the return of his Jerusalem residency, also calling on France to refuse to cooperate or accept a deportation of Salah to France, noting that:

Israeli authorities routinely use the forced revocation of the residency of Jerusalemite Palestinians as a means to displace indigenous Palestinians and create a “Jewish majority” in occupied Jerusalem, as well as to silence and suppress Palestinian human rights defenders, organizers and political representatives. Between 1967 and 2015 alone, at least 14,500 Palestinian Jerusalemites have been stripped of their Jerusalem identity and expelled from their home city, which constitutes a war crime and a crime against humanity under the Rome Statute..

This is only the latest incident in the ongoing persecution of Hamouri, a French-Palestinian lawyer who has been repeatedly targeted for administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial. He has been jailed arbitrarily since March 2022 and has been fighting the attempt to strip him of his residency rights and deport him from his native Jerusalem since 2021 on the basis of “breach of allegiance” to the colonial occupation, an act constituting a war crime. His wife and children are barred from entering Palestine, forcing him to live apart from his family. He was one of six Palestinian human rights defenders who were proven to be surveilled through the infamous “Pegasus” spyware sold by the NSO group. He was imprisoned for 7 years until his release in 2011, in a case that became well-known, especially in France, as an example of the illegitimacy and injustice of the Israeli system of incarceration.

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.

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.