France slams Israel deporting Palestinian who tried to kill chief rabbi

Palestinian-French lawyer Salah Hamouri is accused of numerous offenses, like PFLP membership and trying to kill former Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

Salah Hamouri shows his French passport during an interview with Reuters in the neighbourhood of Dahiyet al-Barid, December 19, 2011 (photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMAD TOROKMAN)
Salah Hamouri shows his French passport during an interview with Reuters in the neighbourhood of Dahiyet al-Barid, December 19, 2011
(photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMAD TOROKMAN)

Israel on Sunday deported Salah Hamouri, a Palestinian human-rights lawyer with French citizenship, to France for committing security offenses, the Interior Ministry said.

France’s Foreign Ministry denounced the deportation and said the French government had actively sought to defend his rights and has been in contact with Israeli authorities multiple times.

“We condemn the Israeli authorities’ decision against the law to deport Salah Hamouri to France,” it said in a statement.

Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee member Ahmed Majdalani said the deportation was illegal.

“He didn’t commit any crime to be deported from his homeland and be expelled into another country, where he had stayed for a short period, even if he holds the nationality of that country,” he told Reuters.

 Salah Hamouri poses for a photograph with his mother during an interview with Reuters in the West Bank neighbourhood of Dahiyet al-Barid, on the outskirts of Jerusalem December 19, 2011. (credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/REUTERS) Salah Hamouri poses for a photograph with his mother during an interview with Reuters in the West Bank neighbourhood of Dahiyet al-Barid, on the outskirts of Jerusalem December 19, 2011. (credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/REUTERS)

Hamouri was escorted to the airport where he boarded a flight to France, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

The Interior Ministry revoked his residency permit in east Jerusalem on December 1. Israel arrested him and placed him under administrative detention without charge on March 7.

Who is Palestinian-French lawyer Salah Hamouri?

Hamouri, an east Jerusalem resident born to a Palestinian father and a French mother, is a lawyer and researcher who works for Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, one of the six Palestinian NGOs declared by Israel to be terrorist organizations. He has also been accused of being a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a terrorist group.

In 2005, Hamouri was arrested after being charged with plotting to assassinate Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the Shas spiritual leader who at the time was Israel’s chief Sephardi rabbi. He was released in 2011 as part of the prisoner exchange with Hamas to free IDF soldier Gilad Schalit. Since then, he has been arrested multiple times for a variety of reasons.

Former interior minister Arye Deri, the Shas chairman, has threatened to revoke Hamouri’s Jerusalem residency permit and have him deported.