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“Deportation Will Not Stop Him”: French-Palestinian Human Rights Lawyer

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"Deportation Will Not Stop Him":French-Palestinian Human Rights Lawyer

(CTN NEWS) – PARIS – Salah Hammouri, a Palestinian lawyer and activist, vowed to continue his battle for the rights of the Palestinian people despite being deported to France because of Israel’s allegation that he is affiliated with a prohibited militant organisation.

After months of legal fighting, Hammouri, a French citizen, finally arrived in Paris on December 18 despite France’s vocal objection to the expulsion.

His expulsion brought attention to the precarious position of Palestinians in east Jerusalem, which Israel has seized, where the majority have revocable resident privileges but are not Israeli citizens.

According to Hammouri, his expulsion “will give me only the courage to continue my struggle against the Israeli occupation and to protect the rights of the Palestinian people,” he said in an appearance with the Associated Press this week.

Palestinian French lawyer and activist Salah Hammouri talks with the press as he arrives at the Charles de Gaulle Airport after his extradition from Israel to France, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022 (AP Photo/Lewis Joly)

Since I was raised here, I find it impossible to see myself residing anywhere other than in Jerusalem and Palestine. This is where I want to live, and this is where I want to return,” he declared.

Hammouri asserted that the Israeli government carried out his expulsion to “have an Israeli majority in Jerusalem with a minority of Palestinian people” and to “send a clear message” that Palestinians in Jerusalem should leave the area.

READ ALSO: Israel Deports French-Palestinian Human Rights Lawyer ‘Salah Hammouri’ Back To France

Israel claims that Hammouri is a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, an organization that it, the US, and the EU have designated as a terrorist one.

He has served as a legal representative for Adameer, a human rights organization representing Palestinian detainees that Israel expelled for alleged ties to the PFLP.

Palestinian French lawyer and activist Salah Hammouri talks with the press as he arrives at the Charles de Gaulle Airport after his extradition from Israel to France, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022, . (AP Photo/Lewis Joly)

He was sentenced to seven years in prison for an alleged murder plot against a famous rabbi but was later freed in a 2011 prisoner swap with the Hamas militant organization.

In the most recent court case against him, he was not accused nor found guilty.

Israel, however, asserted that he continued to be involved with the prohibited organization, revoked his residency, and put him in administrative detention in March of last year.

This status empowers Israel to apprehend Taliban fighters for long periods without filing charges against them or trying to put them on trial.

Hammouri denied Israel’s charges.

A member of a pro-Palestinian group holds a poster showing detained French-Palestinian Salah Hammouri during a gathering near the foreign ministry in Paris, Tuesday, May 5, 2009. Israel said Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022, it has deported Hammouri to France, claiming he has ties to a banned militant group. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

He told the AP, “Israeli officials have no proof that I’m a member of the Palestinian organization (PFLP)”. If they had evidence, they could have presented it to the French authorities, but they chose not to do so.

I am a lawyer and a supporter of human rights, as well as the rights of the Palestinian people. It was my prerogative to protect Palestinian political prisoners, he claimed.

France, according to Hammouri, “didn’t work enough to help me and my case” and chose not to apply “means of pressure” available to it.

“Use the best tools of pressure,” he pleaded with the French government, “so I can return home.”

After Hammouri arrived in Paris, the French Foreign Ministry denounced Israel for deporting him, stating it had “taken all steps” to guarantee his rights were upheld.

He received due process and could lead “a normal life in Jerusalem, where he was born, resides, and intends to live.”

Palestinian French lawyer and activist Salah Hammouri walks with his wife Elsa Lefort as he arrives at the Charles de Gaulle Airport after his extradition from Israel to France, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022, i (AP Photo/Lewis Joly)

Hammouri claimed he is recuperating from a 19-day hunger strike he went on in October to protest Israel’s practise of administrative detention while visiting his French wife and kids in the Paris region.

He gave no specifics on how he will carry on his political activity.

The most significant holy sites are in east Jerusalem, which Israel took during the 1967 Middle East conflict and annexed in a move that is not recognized internationally.

While the Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as the capital of a future state, it views the entire city as its capital.

Palestinians in the city are given resident status in contrast to Jews, who are automatically eligible to citizenship. This gives them access to Israeli social services,

Palestinian French lawyer and activist Salah Hammouri talks with the press as he arrives at the Charles de Gaulle Airport after his extradition from Israel to France, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022 (AP Photo/Lewis Joly)

freedom of movement and the capacity to work, but prevents them from casting ballots in parliamentary elections.

If a Palestinian is discovered to have lived outside the city for an extended period or in particular security scenarios, residency rights may be revoked.

Although Palestinians are eligible to seek for citizenship, few do so, in part because they don’t want to appear to support what they perceive to be an occupation.

However, those who do apply must go through a protracted and cumbersome process with no assurances of acceptance.

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