Lebanon sentences man to prison for marrying a Palestinian with an Israeli passport

Lebanon sentences man to prison for marrying a Palestinian with an Israeli passport
2 min read
13 December, 2021
The man was convicted under Lebanon's anti-normalisation laws, which prohibit any dealings with Israel.
Entering Lebanon is not possible with an Israeli passport [KARIM SAHIB/AFP via Getty]

A Lebanese man has been given a jail sentence for marrying a Palestinian woman who held Israeli citizenship, local media reported on Friday.

A military court in Beirut sentenced Muhammad Youssef Bannout on Friday to one year in prison and a fine of 500,000 Lebanese pounds ($330). Bannout's alleged crime is that he married a Palestinian woman living in Germany, and who holds Israeli citizenship.

The ruling is based on the 1955 Boycott Law which prohibits any type of dealing with Israeli entities. The vagueness of the law has led it to be applied in a wide range of cases, including to prohibit relations with Israeli citizens or to punish artists and activists for their appearances on Israeli media. 

Around one-in-five citizens of Israel are Palestinian.

Lebanon and Israel are technically still in a state of war since the creation of Israel in 1948, although the two countries signed an armistice agreement in 1949.

Lebanon's anti-normalisation laws were enacted to prevent espionage, collusion, and fraternisation with its historic enemy.

But experts have warned that the laws are too vague and place an increasing number of Lebanese citizens at risk of prosecution. 

ince 'normalisation' crimes can be tried in absentia, even those living abroad in countries that have commercial relations with Israel can easily be at risk of prosecution for working along with Israeli companies.