(CTN NEWS) – JERUSALEM – Israel claimed it deported a Palestinian lawyer and activist, Salah Hammouri to France early on Sunday over French government concerns, alleging heties 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.
מורשת שקד: הבוקר גורש לצרפת המחבל סלח חמורי, לאחר ששרת הפנים היוצאת שללה את תושבותו.
— Ariel Kahana אריאל כהנא (@arik3000) December 18, 2022
“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.
Sunday, 18 December – The Israeli settler-colonial authorities unlawfully deported French-Palestinian lawyer and human rights defender Salah Hammouri from his hometown, Jerusalem, to France for “breach of allegiance” to the occupying state.#justiceforsalah #libérezsalah pic.twitter.com/RKTmh5hv9U
— JusticeforSalah (@JusticeforSalah) December 18, 2022
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.
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.”
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.
Saleh Hammouri's family has been notified that Israel will attempt to deport him TOMORROW.
Will the French authorities agree to accept him under these circumstances (deportation of a member of the indigenous population against his will)?? https://t.co/2NCG2hhfJo
— HaMoked (@HaMokedRights) December 17, 2022
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.
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 citycapital.
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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