November 1, 2018
Following his release, Salah Hamouri speaks with MEE about his situation and Palestinians’ broader struggle for freedom
For more than four hundred days, Salah Hamouri languished in prison, deprived of his freedom and family, and uncertain when he would ever be let out.
On 30 September, the Franco-Palestinian lawyer was released from Israeli custody after spending 13 months in administrative detention – an Israeli policy largely used against Palestinians to hold them without charges or trial for periods of up to six months, renewable indefinitely.
Hamouri had already been imprisoned by Israel between 2005 and 2011 after being accused of being involved in a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-led (PFLP) assassination plot targeting right-wing Rabbi Ovadia Yousef – accusations the young man, the son of a Palestinian father from Jerusalem and a French mother, has repeatedly rejected.
In total, more than eight years of 33-year-old Hamouri’s life have gone up in smoke.
Hamouri’s wife, Elsa Lefort – who herself was banned from entering Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories in 2016 when she was six months pregnant – slammed Israel’s “relentlessness” vis-a-vis her husband in an interview with Middle East Eye in August (available only in French).
Hamouri’s case has led to intense mobilisation by pro-Palestine activists in France, who have called on the French government to intercede on his behalf.
Speaking with MEE after his release, Hamouri discussed his detention, the weakness of French diplomacy vis-a-vis Israel, and his determination to remain in Palestine despite Israeli pressure.