Q: After deciding to revoke French-Palestinian lawyer Salah Hamouri’s Jerusalem residency permit, the Israeli authorities are continuing to engage in what looks like harassment by arbitrarily suspending his health insurance (even though it is required for all those over 18). While Salah Hamouri had already initiated proceedings to contest the revocation of his residency status, an Israeli court indicated in writing that as he had “another nationality,” he should pursue his lawsuit “outside of Israel.” What do you intend to do to truly defend Salah Hamouri, a French citizen, given that your simple statements over the past few months clearly have had no effect on Israel’s attitude?
A: France is engaged in a substantive dialogue with the Israeli authorities over the situation of our compatriot, Salah Hamouri, a situation that we have been monitoring at a high level for a long time. Staff from the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs in Paris as well as France’s Consulate General in Jerusalem and the Embassy of France in Israel are mobilizing all their efforts to help him live a normal life in Jerusalem, where he was born and where he resides, and to ensure that his wife and children are given the right to return and rejoin him.
In this regard, we obtained authorization for him to come to France last May for personal reasons and subsequently to return to Jerusalem. The French government took note of the Interior Ministry’s announcement last June that Salah Hamouri’s residency permit was being revoked, and of the confirmation of that decision on October 18. France takes this decision very seriously – it represents the latest step in proceedings initiated more than a year ago against Mr. Hamouri and has been followed by other decisions and measures, such as the suspension of his access to health insurance. France has reiterated its demand to the Israeli authorities that Salah Hamouri be allowed to live in Jerusalem, the city that is his home, and enjoy normal access to basic services.
The French government is working actively, both locally and in Paris, to ensure that he can take advantage of all remedies available to him and to make sure that the rights of the defense are respected.