The Israeli government has just expelled Salah Hamouri, a French-Palestinian lawyer, back to France. The government of Israel has good reason to believe Hamouri has terrorist links, and understandably wants to rid itself of a security risk. The French government labors under the delusion that it has a right to condemn Israel for expelling Salah Hamouri. A preliminary Jihad Watch report is here, and the full story is here: “Israel Expels French-Palestinian Lawyer Salah Hamouri for ‘Involvement in Terrorist Activities,’” i24 News, December 18, 2022:
France on Sunday [Dec. 18] condemned Israel’s expulsion of French-Palestinian lawyer Salah Hamouri, who had been accused of security offenses in Israel.
Earlier on Sunday, Israel’s Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked announced that French-Palestinian lawyer Salah Hamouri was deported from Israel after his residency was revoked nearly two weeks ago due to his “involvement in terrorist activities.”
Hamouri, who is a French citizen and has never held Israeli citizenship, was expelled to France, where he was welcomed by his wife Elsa, politicians and supporters.
We condemn today the Israeli authorities’ decision, against the law, to expel Salah Hamouri to France,” the French foreign ministry said in a statement.
“Against the law”? What “law” are the Israelis accused of having violated? Do the French know Israeli law better than the Israelis? Hamouri was never an Israeli citizen. He was in Israel not by right, but only on sufferance, no different from any other foreigner. He had originally been granted a residence permit, revokable for security reasons. The Shin Bet has concluded that Hamouri has been involved in terrorist activities. Does the French government have evidence that the Shin Bet is mistaken? Of course not. It has no information at all about what Hamouri was up to in Jerusalem.
The ministry added that Paris had been “fully mobilized, including at the highest level of the state, to ensure Salah Hamouri’s rights are respected, that he benefits from all possible assistance and that he can lead a normal life in Jerusalem, where he was born, resides and wishes to live.”
My, my. Paris has been “fully mobilized” to see that Salah Hammouri’s “rights are respected.” Exactly what rights does Hammouri, as a foreigner, have in Israel? Is he entitled to more rights than the North Africans whom the French government expels back to their countries of origin when it has evidence – not necessarily revealed to the public – that they are “security risks”? France has expelled many hundreds to Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia. Funny, I don’t remember Israel, or any other country, criticizing the French for these expulsions.
France also took several steps to communicate to the Israeli authorities in the clearest way its opposition to this expulsion of a Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem, an occupied territory under the Fourth Geneva Convention,” it added.
East Jerusalem and the West Bank are not “occupied territory,” no matter how often they are described as such by those who ignore international law. Their legal status is discussed here:
The legal arguments for the Israeli position, which is based on the contention that there was no ‘legitimate sovereign’ in the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, were summarized by an authority on international law*:
“In my opinion, Israel cannot be regarded as an ‘occupying power’ in Judea and Samaria, nor can those areas be viewed as occupied territory held by the State of Israel, not only as regards article 49, but in all matters relating to the Fourth Geneva Convention in general and even in all applications of international law of belligerent occupation in the broader sense.
“The terms ‘occupying power’ and ‘occupied territory’ are technical terms with a very well-defined meaning in international law.
“They refer to a situation in which, as the result of hostilities between two states, one of them seizes control of the territory which is under the sovereignty of the other. Such areas thus become occupied territories, and the state which controls them assumes the status of an occupying power together with all the rights and obligations which flow from this status.
“However, actual sovereignty over such areas is not transferred by one state to another as the result of the change of physical control over them. The legitimate sovereign, as is the legal and technical term on this matter: that is, the state whose forces have been driven out of the occupied territory, retains its sovereignty over this territory even after its physical removal from it and the annexation of such territory by the occupant is absolutely prohibited.
“The purpose of these rules of international law of belligerent occupation is to protect the rights of the sovereign from the occupant. Article 49 must also be understood as one of the rules intended to achieve this goal.
“And yet, in all matters relating to Judea and Samaria, and the same argument applies also to the Gaza Strip, the circumstances envisioned by the Fourth Geneva Red Cross Convention do not exist because the situation here is not one in which a legitimate sovereign and an occupying power are confronting one another.
“… the Kingdom of Jordan never acquired the status of a legitimate sovereign over Judea and Samaria. On the interpretation most favorable to the Kingdom of Jordan, her rights over Judea and Samaria could thus not exceed those of a belligerent occupant. That is its conclusion which is of decisive legal significance as regards to the nature and scope of the present rights of Israel over these territories.
“It will be clear already that the traditional rules of international law governing belligerent occupation are based on a two-fold assumption, namely that it was the legitimate sovereign which was ousted from the territory under occupation, and that the ousting side qualifies as a belligerent occupant with respect to that territory.
“This assumption of the concurrent existence in respect of the same territory of both the ousted legitimate sovereign and the belligerent occupant lies at the root of all those rules of international law which, while recognizing and sanctioning the occupant’s right to administer the occupied territory, aim at the same time to safeguard the rights of the ousted sovereign.
“It would seem to follow that in a case like the present one where the ousted state never was the legitimate sovereign, those rules of belligerent occupation directed to safeguarding that sovereign’s rights simply cannot find application.
“[Quoting Professor Stephen Schwebel, a judge of the World Court”]:
‘Having regard to the consideration that Israel acted defensively in 1948 and 1967, and her Arab neighbours acted aggressively in 1948 and 1967, Israel has better title in the territory of what was Palestine than do Jordan and Egypt.’
“Since, in the present view, no state can make a legal claim to Judea and Samaria that is equal to that of Israel, this relative superiority of Israel may be sufficient under international law to make Israel’s possession of those territories virtually indistinguishable from an absolute title to be valid erga omnes. The fact that Israel has so far refrained from making full exercise of these rights beyond the municipal limits of Jerusalem is perhaps best explained by the Israeli Government’s reluctance to close certain political options in any future negotiations.
“It is against the background of these legal considerations as distinct from the political considerations underlying the resolutions of various international bodies that the questions surrounding the juridical status of Judea and Samaria have to be viewed.
“I would, therefore, conclude by saying that Israel cannot be considered as an occupying power within the meaning given to this term in international law in any part of the former Palestine mandate, including Judea and Samaria.
“Also, as a result, Israel’s right to Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip are not subject to the limitations imposed by international law on a belligerent occupant.”
Let’s go back to the French attempt to dictate to the sovereign state of Israel its policy on revoking residency permits.
The supporters of Hamouri said his deportation from his birthplace was illegal. However, he “will not be seen as a sympathetic figure,” said Owen Alterman, i24NEWS Senior Diplomatic Correspondent. “The French government may feel that it needs to or wants to press Hamouri’s case. But doing so too loudly or too persistently could hurt the way France is seen in Israel. Even if, over the course of time, this episode is likely to get swallowed up by other news and other issues in the bilateral relationship,” he added.
What exactly is the Macron government trying to do? What makes it think it can intervene in another sovereign state’s determination of which non-citizens can reside in its territory? Every country has the right to decide for itself which non-citizens to admit, and for how long, and under what conditions those residency permits it grants can be revoked and the foreigner in question can be expelled. Especially in security matters, involving the very lives of its citizens, Israel has, like every other country, the right to decide which foreigners can stay, and which shall be required to leave. What is going on, I’m afraid, is simply an attempt by President Macron and his courtiers to win favor among Muslim migrants, now that more and more of whom are becoming citizens and gaining the right to vote. The extensive arguments that buttress Israel’s legal claim to the West Bank and East Jerusalem are not addressed by the Macron government, but simply ignored in this insensate desire to issue a diktat to the Jewish state.
Note to President Macron: Sois-beau et tais-toi.