France Should Denounce Expulsion of Salah Hamouri by Israel

Human Rights Watch

Several NGOs call on French president Emmanuel Macron to act immediately against the expulsion of French-Palestinian lawyer Salah Hamouri. The Israeli authorities decided to expel Mr. Hamouri from his native city, Jerusalem, in violation of international law. Salah Hamouri lives in occupied East Jerusalem and is therefore entitled to protection under international humanitarian law, including the fundamental prohibition of expulsion from the occupied territory.

On November 29, Israel’s Supreme Court rejected the appeal of French-Palestinian lawyer Salah Hamouri against the revocation of his right of residence in Jerusalem. The same day, the Israeli authorities informed Mr. Hamouri that he would be expelled to France on Sunday, December 4.

Mr. Hamouri, who has been held for months in administrative detention without trial or charge, was born in Jerusalem and has always lived there. ACAT-France, Amnesty International France, the Platform of French NGOs for Palestine, Human Rights Watch, and the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (FIDH-OMCT) are appealing to Emmanuel Macron to immediately call on the Israeli authorities to release Salah Hamouri from administrative detention and affirm his right to reside in Jerusalem.

On October 5, 2022, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated again that it should be possible for Salah Hamouri to be released and allowed to live freely in Jerusalem with his family. But at this stage, only firm action by Emmanuel Macron could change the situation and allow Mr. Hamouri, his wife, his two children and their family to exercise their right to reside in his native city of Jerusalem.

The Israeli ministry of interior notified Salah Hamouri on September 3, 2020 of its intention to revoke his permanent residency status because of a “failure of allegiance” toward the State of Israel, confirmed on June 29, 2021 by the adoption of recommendations to revoke his permanent residency. The hearing to challenge this revocation was scheduled for February 6, 2023.

The revocation of Salah Hamouri’s residency rights for “failure of allegiance” sets a dangerous precedent for Palestinian human rights defenders in Jerusalem, who could be systematically targeted on this basis. Under international humanitarian law, occupied populations have no duty of allegiance to the occupying power.

Under Israeli law, Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem are neither residents of the West Bank nor citizens of Israel, although they can apply for citizenship. However, they do have permanent resident status, which allows them to reside in the city, work there and receive social benefits. In reality, this status is not permanent and can be revoked by the Israeli authorities. Israel has enacted legislation and several measures that allow the Israeli authorities to strip Palestinians of their right and ability to live in the city if they do not swear allegiance to the State of Israel. It is on this basis that the Israeli authorities are trying to expel Salah Hamouri.

The fact that the Israeli authorities are forcibly displacing a Palestinian from East Jerusalem, outside the occupied territory, amounts to deportation. Palestinians in East Jerusalem are protected, by virtue of Israel’s occupation, under the Fourth Geneva Convention. The convention generally prohibits such deportations of protected persons. Deportations of protected persons from an occupied territory can amount to war crimes.

Mr. Hamouri has been held in administrative detention by the Israeli authorities since March 7, 2022, without charge or trial. On several occasions, military courts have upheld the renewal of his detention, without providing any substantive explanation. His right to personal liberty and security, guaranteed by Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, has been violated. His lawyers have never had access to his case file, which remains secret.

Signatories:

ACAT-France

Amnesty International France

Plateforme des ONG françaises pour la Palestine

Human Rights Watch

Observatoire pour la protection des défenseurs des droits humains (FIDH-OMCT)

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