France protests Israel’s deportation of terrorist who planned to kill chief rabbi

France asked Israel on Sunday to postpone the expulsion and allow Hamouri, who is a French citizen, to be reunited with his family in Jerusalem.


Salah Hamouri shows his French passport during an interview with Reuters in the neighbourhood of Dahiyet al-Barid, December 19, 2011

France registered an official protest against Israel’s planned deportation of French-Palestinian terrorist Salah Hamouri who planned to assassinate former chief rabbi Ovadia Yosef, along with other attacks.

France asked Israel on Sunday to postpone the expulsion and allow Hamouri, who is a French citizen, to be reunited with his family in Jerusalem.

Foreign Ministry deputy director-general for Europe Anna Azari told French Ambassador to Israel Eric Danon that Israel plans revoke Hamouri’s residency in light of his continued, active membership in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

“Israel is committed to fighting terror and is acting against the terrorists among us, as France and many other countries in the world do,” she said.

Azari shared details of Hamouri’s case with Danon, including that he was served prison sentences for numerous security crimes, including taking part in the planned assassination of Yosef, which was thwarted, funding terrorism and recruiting PFLP members.

Hamouri continues his hostile actions against Israel to this day, Azari continued, and was recently put in administrative detention for 13 months because of those activities.

According to Azari, Hamouri took advantage of his permanent residence status in order to harm the state of Israel and its residents, which is a clear breach of trust against the state – the standard by which Israel revokes residency.

Hamouri was born in Jerusalem to a French mother and a Palestinian father and is a French citizen. His wife Elsa Lefort, daughter of the French former communist MP and president of the France-Palestine Solidarity Association Jean-Claude Lefort, was expelled from Israel in 2016 and banned for 10 years. They have a four-year-old son.

The PFLP member was sentenced to seven years in prison for his involvement in the attempt to assassinate Yosef, but was released after two years as one of the 1,027 terrorists traded for captive soldier Gilad Schalit in 2011.

After his release, he told Reuters that he has no regrets, saying "I am certain of the path and the choices I have chosen."

Hamouri called Yosef "a symbol of racism and fanaticism in Israel."

Yosef consented to Hamouri's release from prison, because it enabled Schalit to be freed.

The Interior Ministry informed Hamouri on Thursday that it plans to revoke his permanent residence of Jerusalem status, effectively deporting him, due to his continued ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). He has one month to appeal the decision.

The Knesset passed a law in 2018 that allows the government to revoke the permanent residence status of east Jerusalem residents who committed an act of breach of trust against the state. The interior minister must consult with the justice minister before making his decision, which the resident can appeal before the district court.