Palestinian-French lawyer Salah Hamouri could be deported: wife

Palestinian-French lawyer Salah Hamouri could be deported: wife
3 min read
West Bank
08 June, 2022
After extending his detention without charges by Israeli authorities, Palestinian-French lawyer Salah Hamouri's family fear he might be deported from the country.
Hamouri has been under Israeli detention without charges since 7 March 2022. [Getty]

Palestinian-French human rights lawyer Salah Hamouri could face deportation, his wife, Elsa Lefort, told The New Arab on Tuesday.

Hamouri faces "uncertainty" after an Israeli military court on Sunday extended his detention without charges for another three months.

"We, Salah's family, don't know why he is detained and until when, because Israeli authorities can extend his detention again the coming 5th of September," said Lefort.

"Uncertainty also includes what will happen upon his release because he is still being threatened with expulsion since the revocation of his residency right in Jerusalem," she added. 

After Israel's occupation of eastern Jerusalem in 1967, Palestinians of the city were given a "resident" status by Israeli authorities which can be revoked at any time.

In 2018, Israel passed a new law making it possible to strip any Jerusalemite Palestinian of their resident status on the basis of "lack of allegiance to the state of Israel".

In October 2021, Israeli authorities revoked Hamouri's residency right in Jerusalem based on that "breach of allegiance".

He was then put under confined residency in the Palestinian town of Kufr Aqab, between Jerusalem and Ramallah, which is within Jerusalem's boundaries, yet separated from the city by an illegal Israeli wall.

In 2016, Israel banned Elsa Lefort and her and Salah Hamouri's children from entering the country.

"The hardest part is not knowing how to answer the children when they ask 'when will we see Baba [Arabic for dad]?'" Lefort said.

"We will continue our advocacy action to demand Salah's liberation and our right to live as a family in Jerusalem," she stressed.

Hamouri's residency revocation case will have another decisive hearing in Israeli courts next February. Human rights groups who have followed the case say they have little hope for the outcome.

"It's just part of the formal procedures, purely theoretical," said Milena Ansari from the Palestinian Addameer Prisoner Support Association.

"The decision has been made, and it's very unlikely that it will change," said Ansari. "Israel might continue to extend Salah's detention until February, before deciding whether to let him stay in the country."

Hamouri had been arrested multiple times since the age of 15, serving an eight-year sentence and several months-long detentions without charges.

Israeli forces arrested Hamouri last March in Kufr Aqab and placed him under "administrative detention" without charges.

In April, Hamouri filed a lawsuit against the Israeli NSO group before the French justice, for having his phone hacked by the NSO's "Pegasus" spyware while on French soil.

In mid-May, Hamouri filed a complaint before the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Israel, describing his repeated detentions, interruption of family life and revocation of his residency rights as a "war crime".

In the complaint, filed on his behalf by lawyers from the International Human Rights Federation, Salah urged the ICC to urgently investigate and rule on "Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity".