The Palestinian French lawyer and researcher Salah Hamouri, who has been linked to a Palestinian terrorist group, is slated reportedly to go on a lecture tour later this month in Ireland and the United Kingdom.
Israel expelled Hamouri, who was convicted of belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), last December. And in January, Gregory Doucet, the mayor of Lyon, France, canceled a conference that was to include Hamouri, citing the need to “ensure harmony” in the city.
Hamouri spent more than three years in custody, without a trial, after his 2005 arrest for allegedly plotting to kill then-Sephardi Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. He pled guilty but claimed he did so only on the advice of his lawyers seeking a lighter prison sentence. He was released in the prisoner swap for Gilad Shalit in 2011 and his social media profiles indicate he is a lawyer for Addameer, a Palestinian NGO that Israel designated a terrorist group.
Shai Glick, chair of BeTzelmo, a human-rights organization in Israel, publicly petitioned Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen to call on Britain and Ireland to prevent Hamouri from entering the country. “We cannot stand idly by while a convicted terrorist spreads his terrorist ethos across Europe and thus endangers the safety of Israelis and Jews living in the countries he visits,” Glick told Israeli media.
BeTzelmo, the Irish Department for Foreign Affairs, Addameer and Hamori did not respond to requests for comment from JNS. The British Home Office told JNS it does not comment on individual cases and would not confirm whether Hamouri would be permitted to enter the country.
‘Endanger the well-being of European citizens’
Wasiq Wasiq, a research fellow at the Oxford-based Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy, told JNS that Hamouri will likely enter the United Kingdom easily and under the radar since London does not currently identify the PFLP as a terrorist group.
“This poses a blind spot for the U.K. security services and the Home Secretary Suella Braverman,” he said. “Groups designated as ‘terrorist’ in one jurisdiction are not designated in others. This imbalance needs to be addressed, as I have explained and urged the government to do as recently as last year.”
That Hamouri was alleged to have been involved in and pled guilty to planning to assassinate Ovadia Yosef makes it even more pressing for the British government to prevent him from entering the country on a speaking tour, said Wasiq, who is also a trustee of the U.K. charity Muslims Against Antisemitism.
Vincent Chebat, a senior researcher at the Israel-based think tank NGO Monitor, told JNS that Hamouri’s planned appearances in Ireland and the United Kingdom are “another example of whitewashing radical individuals and their hateful discourse.”
“The Irish and British governments should take all necessary steps to ensure that Hamouri’s lectures do not endanger the well-being of European citizens, particularly Jewish communities,” said Chebat.
There are six stops on Hamouri’s speaking tour in Ireland and the United Kingdom, according to the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s Facebook page. “Apartheid Israel jailed and deported him. France is trying to silence him. Hear firsthand from Palestinian lawyer and human-rights defender Salah Hammouri!” it states.
On April 19, he plans to talk at Academy Plaza Hotel in Dublin. The following day, Hamouri is scheduled to speak in Navan at the Services Industrial Professional and Technical Union Dan Shaw Centre. On April 21, he is listed to be at Omagh Community House. He is slated to make addresses at Áras Uí Chonghaile in Belfast on April 22, at Old Ground Hotel in Ennis on April 23 and at Richardson’s in Galway on April 25.
None of the six venues responded to questions from JNS.
‘Omitting the context of violence and terror’
Moira Leydon, chair of the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s branch in Meath, Ireland, confirmed to JNS that the IPSC is hosting a public meeting with Hamouri on April 20 at the Dan Shaw venue.
Hamouri “works as a lawyer and field researcher for Addameer, a legal aid and prisoners’ rights NGO,” Leydon told JNS. “In July of last year, Ireland, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden said they had not received substantial information from Israel that would justify reviewing their policy of providing aid to Palestinian humanitarian and human-rights organizations, including Addameer.”
Addameer, which has been heavily linked with the PFLP, regularly leads campaigns in aid of Palestinian prisoners convicted of security offenses. In January 2020, the Palestinian NGO Network, of which Addameer is a member, opposed a new clause to E.U. grant contracts with Palestinian NGOs prohibiting grantees from working with and funding groups and individuals designated on E.U. terror lists.
The United States, Canada and the European Union consider the PFLP a terrorist group. Three PFLP employees—Khalida Jarrar, Naser Abu Khdair and Bashir Al-Kahiri—were on the PFLP’s candidate list ahead of the May 2021 postponed Palestinian legislative elections.
“Addameer is a leader of campaigns in support of Palestinians prisoners convicted of security offenses, referring to them as ‘political prisoners’ and altogether omitting the context of violence and terror,” according to NGO Monitor.