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Israel revokes Jerusalem residency of prominent Franco-Palestinian lawyer

Salah al-Hamouri has spent over eight years in Israeli prisons and must now live outside his hometown
Hamouri has been jailed several times, and now has had his Jerusalem residency revoked by Israel (MEE/Aseel Jundi)

Palestinian lawyer Salah al-Hamouri, a former political prisoner who holds French citizenship, has had his East Jerusalem residency revoked by Israeli authorities, and now cannot live in his hometown.

Hamouri is a resident of occupied East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in 1967. Palestinian residents of the city's occupied eastern neighbourhoods commonly refuse Israeli citizenship and instead hold residency IDs issued by Israel's interior ministry.

However this residency status can be revoked by Israel, forcing Palestinians from their home by withdrawing the ID for various reasons.

Hamouri, a son of a Palestinian father and a French mother, firsr received notice that Israel was trying to take his residency when he received a letter from the interior ministry in September 2020. On Monday, the ministry officially confirmed the decision had gone ahead, according to Palestinian media.

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The lawyer has spent more than eight years in Israeli prisons over different stints, targeted for his political activism and for being a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a Marxist-Leninist Palestinian resistance group.

He was placed in administrative detention for five months in 2001 and four months in 2004. In 2005, Israel sentenced him to seven years in prison for an alleged PFLP plot to assassinate the a right-wing rabbi, Ovadia Yousef, an accusation he denied.

More recently, he was released from administrative detention in 2018 after 13 months of being held without charge.

Following his release, Hamouri told Middle East Eye in an interview: "Prison is already a difficult place for any human being, but it was particularly difficult because Israel also chose to arrest me just at the end of my legal training, only a few days before a trip planned to visit my family in France."

He added: "Israel targeted me during this particular period of my life to remind me that they are watching me closely."

In 2018, Human Rights Watch said Israel had revoked the residency status of at least 14,595 Palestinians in East Jerusalem since 1967.

"The discriminatory system pushes many Palestinians to leave their home city in what amounts to forcible transfers, a serious violation of international law," HRW said.