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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: La presse israélienne évoque Salah Hamouri

by P.B

Salah Hamouri Gets a Mention in the Israeli Press

Translated Wednesday 12 August 2009, by Claire Scammell and reviewed by Henry Crapo

Tel Aviv. The campaign for the release of the French-Palestinian Salah Hamouri has succeeded in breaking the wall of silence surrounding his imprisonment in Israel since March 2005. Now the campaign continues.

The Israeli press has just reported on the case of Salah Hamouri. On the 5th of August, the country’s mainstream daily press, Haaretz, Yediot Aharanot and the Jerusalem Post, reported on a letter sent by Nicolas Sarkozy to the Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. There was no room for ambiguity in Yediot Aharanot’s headline: “Sarkozy Asks Netanyahu to Free a Palestinian Terrorist”. The Jerusalem Post’s headline was in the same vein: “France Requests the Release of a Terrorist”. Without using the very same words, Haaretz’s headline rewrote the unproven accusation behind Salah’s sentence, his alleged involvement in a plot to assassinate the Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

The three newspapers recognised that Sarkozy’s “unusual request was made after pro-Palestinian groups in France lobbied for the release of the Palestinian, whose imprisonment has been likened to the captivity of Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit” [1] (Haaretz). Yediot preferred to quote the French daily Le Figaro which also commented that “Sarkozy’s request was made on the back of heavy pressure from pro-Palestinian groups in France fighting for the release of Hamouri”.

Beyond the vocabulary used – and it is fairly typical of that which crowds the columns of Israeli newspapers on a daily basis – these articles show that the campaign launched by the committee for the release of Salah, and relayed daily by L’Humanité, is bearing fruit. The wall of silence has been broken, in France and in Israel. This advancement can only push the campaign further. This is a key period, with the upcoming Fête de L’Humanité [2] at which Salah’s mother, Denise Hamouri, is expected to appear.

[1The Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was captured by Palestinian militants on the 25th of June 2006

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