A Palestinian-French human rights lawyer who Israel has stripped of his Jerusalem residency is at imminent risk of deportation, an Israeli group says. HaMoked said it had been informed that Salah Hammouri’s detention without charge would not be renewed on Friday.
It comes after Israel’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal against the decision to revoke his residency on the grounds of “breach of allegiance”.Israel accuses Mr Hammouri of belonging to a terrorist group, which he denies. “We must fight terrorism with all the tools at our disposal,” interior minister Ayelet Shaked said, according to the Associated Press. “It is not acceptable for terrorists like Hammouri to gain status in Israel.”
Amnesty International’s Middle East director, Heba Morayef, said: “Salah Hammouri has already spent nine months in administrative detention without charge or trial this year, in retaliation for his tireless campaigning for an end to Israel’s apartheid against Palestinians.
“These latest plans are not only a shameless attempt to hinder Salah’s human rights work, they are also an expression of the Israeli authorities’ chilling long-term policy aim of reducing the number of Palestinians in East Jerusalem.” Administrative detention allows suspects to be held without charge or trial for six-month intervals and can be renewed indefinitely. Mr Hammouri is a 37-year-old lifelong Jerusalem resident with French citizenship through his mother.
He works for Addameer, a Palestinian legal aid and prisoners’ rights group that was designated a terrorist organisation by Israeli military in October 2021 along with five other Palestinian civil society groups. The military said they were linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a Palestinian militant group that Israel considers a terrorist organisation.
In March, Mr Hammouri was arrested and the Israeli military commander in the occupied West Bank ordered that he be held without charge or trial for three months under what is known as administrative detention. The administrative detention order has been renewed twice since then and was due to expire on Sunday.
After four months in detention, Mr Hammouri wrote a letter to French President Emmanuel Macron appealing for help. He was subsequently classified as “a prisoner of high risk” and transferred to a high security prison in central Israel.
In late September, he began a hunger strike to protest against his administrative detention. He ended it after 19 days, during which he was reportedly placed in solitary confinement. UN independent experts said recently that Mr Hammouri had been subjected to detention practices that were “not just unlawful” but “sadistic”.
They also noted that his permanent residency in Jerusalem had been revoked in October 2021 on the basis of “secret information”. Ms Shaked said at the time that his actions had constituted a “breach of allegiance to the State of Israel”. “Israel’s acts of forcibly deporting protected persons from the occupied territory and forcing their allegiance to the occupying power, would constitute grave breaches of international humanitarian law, and may amount to a war crime,” the experts warned.
Mr Hammouri previously spent seven years in prison after being convicted by an Israeli court of participating in a plan to murder the late Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. He was released as part of a 2011 prisoner swap with the militant group Hamas.