US ‘concerned’ about Israel deporting terrorist who tried to assassinate chief rabbi

Salah Hamouri was evicted from Israel Sunday for being an active member of the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine terrorist organization.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The State Department voiced “concerns” Sunday regarding the deportation from Israel to France of Salah Hamouri, a dual Palestinian-French citizen who worked for a group linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization.

When asked in a press briefing about the issue, Department spokesman Ned Price first brought up Israel’s point of view, saying, “We have heard the statements from the Israeli government that this was a decision made out of concern for Israel’s security.”

While “recognizing” Israel’s “very real security challenges,” he added that the U.S. was “not in a position to assess” this particular case, and then stated, “We have concerns about the practice of deportation and revocation of residency, and the potential threat of such policies on the demographic character of Jerusalem.”

Price then walked back the statement somewhat by saying that the American government does not believe that “what is happening here” is “any broader practice of revocation of residency and deportation from East Jerusalem.”

Hamouri, currently a lawyer and field researcher for the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, served seven years in an Israeli prison for his role in a terror plot to assassinate former Sephardic Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

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He was released as part of the 2011 Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal with Hamas but has spent time in prison since then, including a couple of years in administrative detention for his hostile actions against Israel.

Price’s words echoed Addameer’s assertions when it called earlier for the international community to stop the deportation, as it charged that “residency policies, embedded in Israel’s regime of racial domination and oppression, are designed to maintain a perilous legal status for Palestinians in East Jerusalem and uphold an Israeli-Jewish demographic majority in the city.”

Israel declared Addameer and five other Palestinian groups as illegal terrorist organizations last year since they are controlled by senior leaders of the PFLP and employ many supporters of terrorism. The move was controversial, as many countries, including France, believe that these are human rights organizations.

After Hamouri landed in Paris, where his wife and child live, the French Foreign Ministry “condemned the Israeli authorities’ decision, against the law, to expel” him. It said that the government had “fully mobilized, including at the highest level of the state” to help him return to Jerusalem, where he was born, resides and wishes to live.”

Hamouri is the son of a French mother and Palestinian father, and as such is not an Israeli citizen. His Jerusalem residence permit was revoked in October 2021 due to his “breach of allegiance” to the country in which he was residing, but it took until Sunday for the eviction to take place.

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Outgoing Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, who signed the order, said that the move was made after “a lengthy process” as part of Israel’s “fight against terrorism,” as Hamouri was an active member of the PFLP.

Hamouri himself told French media that the Israeli government had wanted to deport him to France “since 2005,” and they had finally done so “to make an example, to show the younger generations what awaits those who want to resist them.”