Israel revokes Jerusalem residency of Palestinian human rights lawyer Salah Hamouri

Israel has officially revoked the permanent residency of Palestinian lawyer Salah Hamouri from his hometown of Jerusalem on Monday, on the basis of “breach of allegiance” to the state, paving the way for Hamouri’s forced deportation from his homeland. 

Hamouri, the son of a Palestinian father and French mother, is a prominent lawyer and human rights advocate in Palestine, and over the past two decades has spent more than eight years in Israeli prison, with several stints in administrative detention.

Hamouri is one of more than 370,000 Palestinians residents of Jerusalem, which was illegally annexed by Israel in 1967.

Israel considers the Palestinian residents of the city as “permanent residents,” unlike Jewish residents of the city who boast full citizenship and national rights. 

Due to a series of discriminatory laws and practices, Palestinian Jerusalemites can have their residency status revoked by the state at any time for a number of reasons, leaving them stateless. 

According to a 2018 report from Human Rights Watch, at least 14,595 Palestinians from Jerusalem have had their residency revoked by Israel since 1967. 

The decision to officially revoke Hamouri’s residency was announced on Monday by Israel’s Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, formerly the Minister of Justice and a member of Israel’s far right, who has famously called for the mass killing of Palestinians in the past. 

It came one year after the ministry’s intention to revoke his residency was announced. 

In addition to the “breach of allegiance” claim, the decision cited allegations of “terroristic activities” and/or affiliation with “terrorist entities,” based on withheld “secret information.”

Palestinian prisoners rights group Addameer, of which Hamouri is a long time staff member, slammed Shaked’s decision for being “intentionally vague,” and reminiscent of Israeli administrative detention orders, in which Palestinians are held without charge or trial often based on “secret evidence.”

“To this end, she further cites recommendations based on his past history of arrests—most of which were under administrative detention, without charge or trial. Notably, the Ministry explicitly alludes to the notable escalation of permanent residency revocation of Palestinian Jerusalemites for “breach of allegiance,” as exemplified by the case of Salah Hammouri, by stating that the decision was necessary “to deter others from breaching allegiance to the State of Israel’,” Addameer said in a statement. 

Addameer said that the decision to revoke Hamouri’s residency is the culmination of years of targeted harassment by the Israeli government against Hamouri for his human rights work, including arbitrary arrests and imprisonment, travel bans, and the deportation of his wife, a French national, in 216, thus separating him from his wife and son.

The group highlighted the fact that Israel’s policy of revoking Palestinian residency rights in East Jerusalem further violates international law, which “stipulates that the Occupying Power may not act as a sovereign legislator or extend its own legislation over the occupied territory.”

Furthermore, “the criterion of allegiance to Israel is illegal,” Addameer said. “In fact, international humanitarian law explicitly forbids the Occupying Power from demanding allegiance from the occupied population.

“The revocation of residency policy forms part of a widespread and systematic transfer policy directed against a civilian population., which may also amount to a crime against humanity under Article 7 of the Rome Statute,” the group said. 

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