Salah Hamouri (Arabic: صلاح حموري), born on 25 April 1985 to a French mother and a Palestinian father, is a French sociology student at Bethlehem University. He is known for his 2005 indictment for planning to assassinate rabbi Ovadia Yosef and for being a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. He pleaded guilty to the latter, in the hope of obtaining a lighter sentence, according to his lawyer.
After a three-year administrative detention, following the advice of his lawyer, Leah Tsemel, he accepted to plea bargain to avoid to 14-year sentence and was sentenced to 7 years by a military tribunal.
A number of committees constituted to protest against this sentence and to affirm his innocence.
Hamouri was released in exchange for the release of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in December 2011.
Birth and studies
Salah Hamouri was born on 25 April 1985 in Jerusalem to a French mother, Denise Hamouri-Guidoux, from Bourg-en-Bresse (Ain), who teaches French in Jerusalem, and a Palestinian father, Hassan Hamouri, who manages a restaurant in Eastern Jerusalem.
An alumnus of the Catholic private school of Frères de Lasalle de Jérusalem, he decided to enroll in sociology studies at Bethlehem University after his Baccalaureate.
On May 29th, 2014, he married French citizen Elsa Lefort. Their son, Watan, Hassan, Salah, Hamouri-Lefort, was born on March 31st, 2016 in Paris, France.
From the perspective of French authorities, Salah Hamouri, who holds a French passport, is a Franco-Palestinian binational.
From the perspective of Israeli authorities, residents of Eastern Jerusalem hold a resident permit and are considered to be residents in Israel. This statute has existed since the annexation of East Jerusalem during the Six-Day War.
Arrest and trial
During his second year of sociology studies, Salah Hamouri was arrested by the Israeli military at a checkpoint, on 13 March 2005.
According to Hamouri's testimony, he was visiting friends in Ramallah. Arriving at Qalqiliya checkpoint, he was ordered off his vehicle by soldiers, and arrested without explanations before being sent to prison.
For two years, a military tribunal gathered over 20 times to establish an accusation against Hamouri. In April 2008, Jean-Claude Lefort, president of the Association France-Palestine Solidarité, who coordinates the national support committee to Hamour, claimed that he had heard military judges in court say "this time, either you plead guilty, or you get a 14-year sentence". His lawyer then advised him to plead guilty as a plea bargain.
Salah Hamouri was arrested on two counts:
- membership of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which is an illegal organisation in Israel;
- involvement in a plot to assassinate Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, spiritual leader of the religious and ultra-orthodox party Shas, and former Chief Rabbi of Israel.
At first, Hamouri denied the accusations.
According to the prosecution, Hamouri knew Moussa Darwish, who admitted to planning to assassinate Yosef by riding a motorcycle past his house and firing gunshots.