Deportation of Palestinian Activist Put on Hold


A member of a pro-Palestinian group holds a poster showing French-Palestinian Saleh Hammouri, near the Foreign Ministry in Paris, in 2009. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)

Israel will have to wait to deport a Palestinian lawyer and activist to France for at least several weeks.

Saleh Hammouri appeared at a court hearing near Tel Aviv on Tuesday. No decisions were made, and another hearing was set for Jan. 1, said Dani Shenhar, one of his lawyers. He remains in Israeli custody.

Hammouri has been held since last March under administrative detention.

Outgoing Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked announced last week that she would deport Hammouri as soon as possible after his detention ended on Sunday.

The case has sparked a diplomatic row with France. Hammouri, who was born in Yerushalayim, has French citizenship.

Israel accuses Hammouri of membership in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which has been labeled a terrorist group by Israel and the U.S.

France has told Israel that it opposes the planned expulsion, French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anne-Claire Legendre said Monday in an online briefing.

“He must be able to exercise all his rights and lead a normal life in Jerusalem, his city of birth and residence,” she said, adding that French officials have met with Israeli counterparts to express their opposition.

Last week, U.N. experts warned that the decision to deport Hammouri to France may constitute a war crime under the Geneva Convention.

“Such unilateral, arbitrary measures taken by Israeli authorities in retaliation against Mr. Hammouri as a human rights defender violate every principle and the very spirit of international law,” the experts said.

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