Palestinian rights lawyer Salah Hammouri likely to avoid deportation Sunday, but expulsion threat remains

Palestinian rights lawyer Salah Hammouri likely to avoid deportation Sunday, but expulsion threat remains
Human rights groups have decried Israel's use of punitive residency revocation for Palestinians.
3 min read
02 December, 2022
Salah Hammouri faces deportation to France at any time [Getty]

The forced deportation of Palestinian rights lawyer Salah Hammouri will likely not take place on Sunday, as previously announced, although the threat to expel him remains in place, his legal team said Friday.

Hammouri's family was told on Thursday that the Palestinian-French citizen, who is being held in Israeli administrative detention, will be deported to France, against his will, this weekend. It comes after his residency was revoked for "breach of allegiance".

Hammouri's lawyers and family held a press conference in Jerusalem on Friday explaining that the lawyer will not be deported this weekend and was granted a hearing which will take place next Tuesday.

But his team said the threat to deport the lawyer remains very much in place and Hammouri could be forcibly bundled onto a flight to France at any time.

They have also said that despite his dual Palestinian-French nationality, Hammouri was born and raised in Jerusalem and considers the city his home.

"He is French, he speaks French... but he doesn't want to live there without his consent," said Leah Tsemel, Salah Hammouri's lawyer.

The future for Hammouri remains unclear and could be part of a deliberate tactic by Israel to muddy the waters, his team said.

The most likely scenario is that Hammouri will attend a hearing on Sunday, where he could be released from administrative detention and sent to a custody centre for "illegal migrants" to await deportation to France.

Munir Nusseibeh, an international law professor at Al-Quds University, said Israel's charge against Hammouri of "breach of allegiance" should not apply to people living under occupation.

"Allegiance is not expected from civilian populations in occupied territories... international law has been clearly defined that the forced deportation of civilians from or within occupied territories is a war crime and crime against humanity," said Nusseibeh.

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Nusseibeh has urged airlines not to take part in the deportation, warning doing so could make them complicit in an illegal action.

Human Rights Watch's Israel and Palestine Director, Omar Shakir, told The New Arab that the deportation would have a chilling effect on the Palestinian population living under Israeli rule.

"Deporting French-Palestinian Salah Hamouri would be a seismic escalation in Israel's efforts to force out Palestinians and all-out assault on Palestinian civil society," he said.

"Israeli's repression of Hamouri - detaining him for months without trial or charge, outlawing the human rights organization he works for and revoking his legal status to live in his native Jerusalem - embodies the struggle of Palestinian human rights defenders challenging Israel's apartheid. Macron should urgently press Lapid not to expel Hamouri."

Hammouri's residency was revoked by Israel's Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked in October 2021. He not only lost his right to reside in Jerusalem, his home city, but also free movement and his ability to work.

Israel, which has illegally occupied and annexed East Jerusalem, regularly revokes the permanent residencies of Palestinians in this section of the city.

The population does not hold Israeli citizenship or have the same civil rights as Israelis.

Hammouri has been in administrative detention since March 2021, a policy that allows Israeli authorities to hold Palestinians without charge, indefinitely.

The 37-year-old has been arrested six times by Israel, spending a total of nearly nine years behind bars.

As a 15-year-old, Hammouri was shot by Israeli forces while taking part in a demonstration during the 2000 Second Intifada, with one bullet still lodged in his body.