Israeli bid to deport Hammouri breaks international law

Israeli bid to deport Hammouri breaks international law

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The worst nightmare for Palestinians in the Occupied Territories is the threat of mass expulsion. While the occupation and the colonial settlement movement have been ongoing for decades, the Palestinian philosophy has focused on “sumoud” (steadfastness) on the land. As long as Palestinians are not leaving, whether by force or by other means, the occupier will eventually be forced to recognize their inalienable right to self-determination.
This fear has retracted over the years but, with the rise of the far-right extremists that will soon have control over the key security agencies in the Occupied Territories, it is inappropriate not to worry about such extreme actions being taken by Israel in order to have the land with as few Palestinians as possible on it.
Israeli actions often begin with a test case regarding one individual and then, once the international community “gets over it,” they expand their activities. This is what happened on the eve of the First Intifada, when the Yitzhak Shamir government expelled Jerusalem-born Palestinian American nonviolence advocate Mubarak Awad. Now, a new precedent is being set, namely the Israeli claim that Palestinian lawyer Salah Hammouri, whom Tel Aviv says is “not loyal to the state of Israel” (based on secret evidence), can be deported.
Israel’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal by the Jerusalem-based nongovernmental organization HaMoked against the minister of the interior’s decision to revoke his Jerusalem residency status on the grounds of “breach of allegiance.” This decision leaves Hammouri with no legal status. He is currently in administrative detention, itself a draconian law carried over from the days of the British Mandate of Palestine.
HaMoked attorney Dani Shenhar, who represented Hammouri, has stated that the “revocation of residency is a drastic measure that violates a person’s basic right to live in their homeland. As a member of the indigenous population of Jerusalem, Hammouri owes no allegiance to the state of Israel. The fact that this decision was made largely based on secret evidence only exacerbates the injustice.”
Attempts to force on Palestinians in Jerusalem the obligation to show allegiance to an occupying power is itself a travesty and a reflection of a fascist tendency that attempts to subjugate a people in a particular way. Israel’s actions reinforce the now largely accepted definition that it is running an apartheid regime, in which there is a superior population with all rights and privileges while a large sector of the population has no civil or human rights equal to those of the people of the governing power.

Israel’s actions reinforce the now largely accepted definition that it is running an apartheid regime.

The irony is that Israel, which claims to be the only democracy in the Middle East and the world’s “most moral army,” is holding 5 million Palestinians hostage under its occupation. The Israelis refuse to recognize the legal concept of occupation and refuse to give the population under its army’s control any political rights, yet are angry when asked to differentiate between Israel and the occupied areas beyond the Green Line.
Every single country in the world, including Israel’s darling ally, the US, recognizes that areas captured militarily in Israel’s offensive war in 1967 are occupied. The preamble of UN Security Council Resolution 242 states clearly that “it is inadmissible to acquire land by war.”
Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, it is prohibited to carry out individual or mass forcible transfers of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the occupying power or to that of any other country, regardless of motive. Israel and its courts do not recognize that it is an occupying power, especially in Jerusalem, where the Israelis expanded the borders of East Jerusalem and then annexed it.
The world community, and Western countries in particular, have an obligation to stand up for the rule of law and to honestly enforce international humanitarian law in all conflict areas, whether in Ukraine or Palestine. The concept of shared values, which has been used as an excuse for the exaggerated amount of financial, political and military support given to Israel, cannot continue to be used to justify support for Israel.
Most of Israel’s population holds dual citizenship, yet it wants to deport Hammouri to France because he also has French citizenship. If Hammouri, a human rights lawyer, is deported, then what protection is there for the average Palestinian?

Daoud Kuttab is a Palestinian journalist from Jerusalem. He is a former Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University. Twitter: @daoudkuttab


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