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Israel expels French-Palestinian rights lawyer Salah Hamouri

France condemns Hamouri's expulsion for 'breach of allegiance' after detention since March as 'against the law'
Salah Hamouri, a Franco-Palestinian lawyer and field researcher for the Palestinian prisoners' rights NGO Addameer, at the NGO's offices in the West Bank city of Ramallah (AFP)

France on Sunday condemned Israel's expulsion of French-Palestinian human rights lawyer Salah Hamouri, calling it "against the law".

Hamouri, a researcher with the Palestinian prisoners' rights NGO Addameer (Conscience), had been held in detention without trial since March, accused of a list of security offences.

In a statement on Sunday, the Israeli Interior Ministry said Hamouri "was deported this morning to France following Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked's decision to withdraw his residency status".

Many Palestinian residents of Jerusalem's occupied eastern neighbourhoods refuse Israeli citizenship and instead hold residency IDs issued by Israel's interior ministry. However, Israel can revoke the residency status, forcing Palestinians from their homes.

Footage showed Hamouri arriving in Paris where he was greeted by supporters:

Israel has cited "breach of allegiance" to Israel as justification for Hamouri's deportation.

However, opponents of the deportation have pointed to the Fourth Geneva Convention which says that protected populations in an occupied territory, such as internationally recognised occupied East Jerusalem, do not have a duty of allegiance to the occupying power.

France's foreign ministry criticised the expulsion in a press release on Sunday.

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"France has also taken numerous steps with the Israeli authorities to express in the clearest possible way its opposition to this expulsion of a Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem, an occupied territory within the meaning of the Fourth Geneva Convention," said the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs.

"The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs is in continuous contact with Mr Hamouri's family."

For his political activism, Hamouri has spent a total of eight years in Israeli prisons over different periods. In 2005, Israel sentenced him to seven years for an alleged plot by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine to assassinate Ovadia Yosef, a right-wing rabbi, an accusation he denied.

In October 2021, Israeli authorities revoked his East Jerusalem residency, denying him the right to live in his home town, which Israel captured in 1967 from Jordan.

Hamouri wrote for Middle East Eye earlier this year about his time in detention and his fears of deportation.

"The ultimate abomination of prison is the perpetual state of waiting, amplified by the prison walls. Little by little, the waiting wears down the mind, the same way the effects of global warming deplete the planet's resources in the world outside," he wrote.

"And yet, the question on my mind these days is this: if the waiting weighs so heavily on me here - with my homeland, freedom, and native city, Jerusalem, a mere few miles away - what would it feel like had I been forced into exile far from home?"

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