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

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Israel Deports French-Palestinian Human Rights Lawyer 'Salah Hammouri' Back To France

(CTN NEWS) – JERUSALEM – Israel claimed it deported a Palestinian lawyer and activist, Salah Hammouri to France early on Sunday over French government concerns, alleging he has ties to a banned militant organization.

In Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, where most Palestinians hold revocable residency rights but are not Israeli citizens, Salah Hammouri’s expulsion underscored the fragile status of Palestinians.

In addition, it set up a diplomatic spat with France, which had repeatedly asked Israel not to expel the Palestinians.

“I’m pleased to announce that justice was served today in deporting Salah Hammouri,” he said. Israel’s interior minister announced in a videotaped statement. He was scheduled to land in Paris just before 10 a.m. EST.

Hammouri was born in Jerusalem, but he holds French citizenship.

According to Israel, Hammouri is a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which it considers a terrorist organization.

Defends Palestinian prisoners banned by Israel due to alleged links to the PFLP through Adameer, a rights group that helps them.

In 2011, after serving seven years in prison for allegedly plotting to kill a prominent rabbi, he was released in a prisoner swap with Hamas. The latest proceedings against him have not resulted in a conviction.

However, according to Israel, his activities with the banned group continued, and he was placed in administrative detention in March.

Administrative detention means Israel can detain suspected militants without charging them or a trial for months.

Shaked ordered Hammouri’s deportation after his detention order expired, although he was not charged in the current case.

Hammouri’s appeal against the decision to revoke his residency status had been rejected by Israel’s Supreme Court.

Israel Deports French-Palestinian Human Rights Lawyer 'Salah Hammouri' Back To France

Salah Hamouri, 26, one of the 550 Palestinian prisoners freed to complete a deal in which Israel released 1,027 prisoners for soldier Gilad Shalit who was held captive in the Gaza Strip for over five years, shows his French passport during an interview with Reuters in the West Bank neighbourhood of Dahiyet al-Barid, on the outskirts of Jerusalem December 19, 2011.— Reuters

The French Foreign Ministry condemned the deportation of Hammouri after he landed in Paris, saying it had taken.

“full action, including at the highest level of the State, to ensure that Mr. Hammouri is treated fairly, he has access to all legal remedies and can lead a normal life in Jerusalem, where he was born, resides, and wishes to live.”

HaMoked, which had defended Hammouri, condemned his expulsion on Sunday. There was a hearing scheduled for Jan. 1, and it was unclear how Israel could move forward with the deportation.

Jessica Montell, the group’s director, said that “deporting Palestinians from their homeland for breaching allegiance to Israel is a dangerous precedent. In the future, HaMoked will fight against this unconstitutional law.”

Israel Deports French-Palestinian Human Rights Lawyer 'Salah Hammouri' Back To France

n this file photo taken on October 1, 2020, Salah Hamouri, Franco-Palestinian lawyer and field researcher for Addameer (Conscience), a non-governmental organisation for the support of Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli and Palestinian prisons, speaks during an interview at the NGO’s offices in the West Bank city of Ramallah.c
Image Credit: AFP

A security researcher found Hammouri’s mobile phone infected with spyware from the Israeli company NSO Group last year six human rights activists.

It was not known who installed the spyware on the phones. Israel said there was no connection between Adameer and five other Palestinian rights groups’ terror designation and any alleged use of NSO spyware.

According to Palestinian groups, Israel’s anti-terrorism legislation is meant to muzzle them and dry up their funding sources.

The deportation of Hammouri was “the end of a long but just legal process,” said Aryeh Deri, Shaked’s apparent successor as interior minister in Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government.

A new coalition is expected to pass legislation to allow Deri to serve as a minister despite a recent tax conviction.

East Jerusalem, which contains the city’s most significant religious sites, was captured by Israel during the 1967 Mideast war and annexed.

The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as their future capital, while Israel considers the entire city it’s capital.

Israel Deports French-Palestinian Human Rights Lawyer 'Salah Hammouri' Back To France

Salah Hamouri, a Franco-Palestinian lawyer and field researcher for the Palestinian prisoners’ rights NGO Addameer, at the NGO’s offices in the West Bank city of Ramallah (AFP)

Jewish city residents are entitled to automatic citizenship, but Palestinian residents are granted residency status. This allows them to move freely, work and access Israeli social services, but they cannot vote in national elections.

A Palestinian’s residency rights can be revoked if they live outside the city for an extended period or in certain security situations.

Citizenship is available to Palestinians. Yet few do, not wanting to be seen as accepting what they perceive as an occupation. A lengthy and bureaucratic application process awaits those who apply.

Haaretz reported that fewer than 20,000 Palestinians in Jerusalem hold Israeli citizenship, or about 5% of the population this year. Shaked provided information to a parliamentary inquiry from the Interior Ministry.

Hammouri was not known to have been accepted by France. According to the Foreign Ministry, “he must be able to exercise all his rights in Jerusalem, his city of birth and residence.”

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