United Nations
United NationsReuters

The UN Human Rights Office on Monday condemned Israel’s deportation to France of Salah Hamouri, the terrorist who plotted to assassinate the late Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, calling the act a “war crime”.

Hamouri was deported to France on Sunday morning following the decision two weeks ago of the Minister of the Interior, Ayelet Shaked, to revoke his residency in Israel.

Hamouri is a French citizen and permanent resident of Israel, born in 1985. He has been active for many years in the ranks of the Palestinian Arab terrorist organization the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

In a statement, UN Human Rights spokesperson Jeremy Laurence condemned the deportation of Hamouri, whom he described as a “Palestinian-French human rights defender”, adding that “we are deeply concerned by the chilling message this sends to those working on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory.”

“The Israeli authorities revoked Hamouri's residency in occupied East Jerusalem on the basis of ‘breach of allegiance to the State of Israel’. Hamouri, a lawyer with Palestinian human rights organization Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, was arrested by Israeli Security Forces in March and placed under administrative detention without any charge or trial,” added Laurence.

“International humanitarian law prohibits the deportation of protected persons from occupied territory, and explicitly forbids compelling such persons to swear allegiance to the occupying power. Deporting a protected person from occupied territory is a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, constituting a war crime,” he continued.

“Hamouri’s deportation highlights the vulnerable situation of Palestinians living in East Jerusalem, as the occupying power has granted them a revokable residency status under Israeli law. It also marks another serious deterioration in the situation for Palestinian human rights defenders. The UN Human Rights Office calls on Israel to reverse the deportation order and to stop using such allegations to halt legitimate human rights work,” concluded Laurence.

Sunday’s deportation marked the end of a process in which, due to Hamouri's involvement in terrorist activities, his residency was revoked.

The removal was carried out by representatives of the Population and Immigration Authority who will accompany him to France, where his wife and children are waiting for him.

Minister Shaked expressed satisfaction over the deportation and said, "Today the terrorist Salah Hamouri was brought to justice and he was deported from Israel."

"This is a long and protracted process and it is a tremendous achievement that, just before the end of my term, I was able to bring about his deportation, with the tools at my disposal, and promote the fight against terrorism. I hope that the incoming government will continue this line and expel terrorists from Israel."