LONDON: Several charitable organizations and activist groups have called on French President Emmanuel Macron to act immediately against the expulsion of French Palestinian lawyer Salah Hamouri by Israeli authorities.
Israel on Thursday announced it had stripped Hamouri of his Jerusalem residency and planned to deport him to France, saying he was an “activist in a banned militant group.”
French citizen Hamouri, who has been held since March in administrative detention — a tool that allows Israeli authorities to hold suspects without charge for months on end — faces deportation as early as Sunday despite being a life-long resident of Jerusalem.
His charge, as announced by the Israeli Ministry of Interior, is a “failure of allegiance” toward the state of Israel, first confirmed on June 29 last year. He has not been convicted in the proceedings.
Israel claims that Hamouri is a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a group that is considered a terrorist organization by Israel and the US.
He is a lawyer for Adameer, a rights group that assists Palestinian prisoners that Israel has banned for alleged ties to the PFLP, and previously spent seven years in prison after being convicted in an alleged plot to kill a prominent rabbi, but was released in a 2011 prisoner swap with Hamas.
Human Rights Watch, ACAT-France, Amnesty International France, the Platform of French NGOs for Palestine and the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders are appealing to Macron to immediately call on the Israeli authorities to release Hamouri.
They said the decision set a dangerous precedent for Palestinian human rights defenders and advocates in Jerusalem, who could be systematically targeted on this basis.
Attorney for human rights activist group HaMoked, Dani Shenhar, called the stripping of his residency a “drastic measure that violates a person's basic right to live in their homeland.”
She continued: “As a member of the indigenous population of Jerusalem, Hamouri owes no allegiance to the state of Israel, the fact that this decision was made largely on the basis of secret evidence only exacerbates the injustice.”
Israel’s Supreme Court this week cleared the way for the deportation after rejecting an appeal from HaMoked.