Israel on Sunday said it had deported a Palestinian lawyer to France, saying Salah Hamoli was still active in a terrorist group years after being released from prison for plotting to kill a prominent rabbi.
Hamri, who holds French citizenship, has been held in administrative detention since March. It’s an Israeli tool that allows authorities to hold suspects without prosecution for months at a time and keep them from seeing evidence against them. He denied all allegations against him.
Hamri has been implicated in terrorist activities, but has not been charged or convicted in recent cases against him. In addition, Israel stripped him of his Jerusalem residence.
Home Secretary Ayelet Sheikhdo announced the deportation, hailing it as a “tremendous achievement” at the end of his tenure.
“Terrorist Saleh Hamri’s prison term has ended and he has been deported from Israel,” Sheikhd said in a statement.
“It has been a long and lengthy process, but being able to accomplish his deportation just before the end of his mission using the tools at his disposal to advance the fight against terrorism is a major achievement. We hope to continue this policy and deport terrorists from Israel,” Sheikhd said.
Chas party leader Arie Deli, who is expected to become the next interior minister, said the deportation “marked the end of a long but just legal process”.
There were no public comments from France on this matter.
Israeli human rights group Hamoked backed the decision, saying “the expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland for their violation of their loyalty to the state of Israel is a dangerous precedent and a grave violation of their fundamental rights.” condemned.
The Supreme Court cleared the way for deportation after dismissing an appeal from HaMoked earlier this year.
Israel says Hamri is a member of the PFLP, which has been labeled a terrorist organization by Israel and the US.
He worked as a lawyer for Adameer, a rights group that helps Palestinian prisoners. The group was blacklisted by Israel due to its alleged affiliation with the PFLP.
He spent seven years in prison after being convicted of plotting to murder Rabbi Obadiah Joseph in 2005.
Hamouri was released in a prisoner exchange with the Gaza-based Hamas terrorist group in 2011 for the release of captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.
Israel has since said that Hamri has used his stay in Jerusalem to carry on “hostile, serious and important activities”.
The decision to revoke his residency underscored the vulnerable position of Jerusalem’s Palestinians, who retain revocable Israeli residency but are largely not citizens.
It also threatened to spark a diplomatic dispute with France, which opposed the deportation. French President Emmanuel Macron has previously expressed concern over the incident with Prime Minister Yair Lapid.
Last year, Hamri was one of six human rights activists whose phones were found by an independent security researcher to be infected with spyware created by the Israeli company NSO Group.
It is unknown who installed the spyware on the phone. Israel says it has nothing to do with the terrorism designation of Adameer and his five other Palestinian rights groups and its alleged use of NSO spyware. Israel has provided little public evidence to support its terrorism designation, and Palestinian groups say they intend to silence them and drain their funding sources.
During the Six Day War of 1967, Israel occupied East Jerusalem, home to the city’s most important religious sites, and annexed the area in a move not recognized internationally. Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, but consider the city as a whole to be their capital.
Jews in the city are automatically eligible for citizenship, while Palestinians are granted residency status. This allows freedom of movement, the ability to work, and access to Israeli social services, but not the ability to vote in national elections. If Palestinians are found to be living outside the city for an extended period of time, or for certain security reasons, their residency rights may be stripped.
Palestinians can apply for citizenship. But few do because they don’t want to be seen as accepting what they see as a profession. However, those who apply face a lengthy and bureaucratic process.
The Haaretz daily reported earlier this year that less than 20,000 Palestinians in Jerusalem (about 5% of the population) hold Israeli citizenship, with just 34% of applications being approved. It cited information from the Home Office that Sheikhd provided to the parliamentary inquiry.