Palestine: ahead of imminent Supreme Court ruling, FIDH stands in solidarity with Salah Hamouri

Abbas Momani / AFP

Paris — The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) stands in solidarity with Palestinian-French human rights defender Salah Hamouri, whose appeal before the Israeli Supreme Court seeks to suspend the revocation of his residency in Jerusalem. A ruling is expected to be handed down imminently.

The Supreme Court called on the Israeli security agencies to give an opinion on the suspension procedures; the security apparatus contended that Mr Hamouri is a threat to Israel, based on a secret national security file, and urged the Court to move quickly to eliminate Mr Hamouri’s supposed threat to the national security of Israel. The Court is expected to issue a decision shortly, in the last instance. Mr Hamouri’s defence team has also filed a petition to suspend associated measures—most notably the travel ban and the suspension of his social security and insurance benefits.

FIDH condemns these abusive and arbitrary measures, which are based on vaguely-worded allegations, against the esteemed human rights defender. The attacks on Mr Hamouri seem to be aimed solely at punishing him for his legitimate human rights activities, in particular in favour of Palestinian political prisoners.

Mr Hamouri, a lawyer and field researcher for Addameer Prisoner Support, a prisoners’ rights group, has been targeted by Israeli authorities for over 15 years, facing imprisonment, judicial harassment and periods of arbitrary detention. Since his release in September 2018, Mr Hamouri has been subjected to continuous harassment by Israeli authorities, including arbitrary arrests, travel bans, exorbitant bail and fines, house arrests, and separation from his family. He is not permitted to leave Kufur Aqab, where he lives.

In September 2020, Israel’s Minister of Interior notified Mr Hamouri of the intent to revoke his permanent residence card in Jerusalem and imminently deport him to France; the ID-revocation decision was issued on 18 October 2021. The decision is based on Mr Hammouri’s alleged “breach of allegiance to the State of Israel” and on vaguely worded and poorly defined allegations of "terrorist activities" and/or affiliation with "terrorist entities," relating to "secret information." If this measure is implemented, it would mean that Mr Hamouri, who was born and has lived in Jerusalem since 1985, would be permanently expelled from his country of origin without being able to return.

These attacks are part of a broader campaign of the Israeli government to delegitimise Palestinian and Israeli human rights groups and human rights defenders through conflating them with terrorists, and pressuring anyone giving them a platform for their discourse and lobbying actively to cut their sources of funding.

Mr Hamouri attacked on multiple fronts

In addition to its incessant judicial and administrative harassment of Mr Hamouri, the Israeli government has also hacked his phone, as demonstrated by a Frontline Defenders investigation last November, and confirmed by Citizen Lab and Amnesty International. The investigation revealed that the Israeli government had hacked the phones of Mr Hamouri and other Palestinian human rights defenders, enabled by technology of the NSO Group, an Israeli technology firm known for its Pegasus spyware. Several NGOs, including FIDH, urged the European Union (EU) to put NSO on its global sanction list and take all appropriate action to prohibit the sale, transfer, export, import, and use of NSO Group technologies until adequate human rights safeguards are in place.

FIDH and Mr Hamouri are considering filing a joint complaint in France against NSO Group, as the violations took place in France against a French national.

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