France and Israel in diplomatic row over deported lawyer

Human rights lawyer Salah Hamouri was accused by Israel of terrorist links

A diplomatic row has broken out between Israel and France after Israel deported a Palestinian human rights lawyer to France, accusing him of links to a terrorist organisation.

“We condemn the illegal decision of the Israeli authorities to deport Mr Salah Hamouri to France,” the French foreign ministry said in a statement.

“France has taken all measures, including among the highest political ranks, to ensure the rights of Mr Salah Hamouri are respected ... and that he will be able to lead a normal life in Jerusalem, the city where he was born, lives and wishes to stay.”

Speaking to reporters after arriving in France, Mr Hamouri, who holds French citizenship, accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing” and said his deportation was meant “to show the generations that nobody can resist Israel”. He said he would fight the order.


“I will continue my right to resist against this occupation until I have the right to go back to my country,” he said.

Mr Hamouri was arrested most recently in March 2022 and placed in administrative detention for a period of three months, a measure carried over from the British mandate in Palestine which allows prisoners to be held without trial. His detention was extended three times.

Israel claims he is a member of the Marxist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and was initially jailed for six years after being linked to a 2005 plot to assassinate former chief rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party. Mr Hamouri denied he was a member of the PFLP and claimed he was never allowed to see the evidence against him.

He was released in the prisoner exchange with Hamas for abducted soldier Gilad Shalit before being arrested again in 2017 and spending time in and out of administrative detention.

Mr Hamouri worked until last year for the Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer, which was classified by Israel, along with several other NGOs, in October 2021 as a terrorist organisation with links to the PFPL – an accusation that all the groups strongly denied.

Last month, he was informed he would be deported but the move was delayed until the Supreme Court rejected his appeal earlier this month.

Interior minister Ayelet Shaked wrote that her decision to annul Mr Hamouri’s permanent residency status, paving the way for his deportation, was based on his “serious and dangerous” actions.

“Justice has been done to the terrorist and he has been deported from Israel,” she said in a statement. “This was a long and protracted process and it is a tremendous achievement that I was able to bring about his deportation just before the end of my duties.”

Mark Weiss

Mark Weiss

Mark Weiss is a contributor to The Irish Times based in Jerusalem