French lawmakers walked out of the National Assembly yesterday in protest of comments made by a representative against a French-Palestinian national held by Israel, according to the Electronic Intifada.
Meyer Habib, who represents French nationals living in the Eastern Mediterranean, made the comments in response to European affairs minister Nathalie Loiseau, who told parliament that the French government “hopes for the quick release” of Salah Hamouri, a human rights activist held without charge in Israel since August.
Habib, known to be close to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, stated that Hamouri was a terrorist and accused him of being the “leader” of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a resistance and political group that Israel has designated a terrorist organisation.
Habib also cited the fact that Hamouri was previously jailed by Israel between 2005 and 2011, despite the French government acknowledging in 2011 that the charges were “not corroborated by any evidence”.
Thirty-two-year-old Hamouri holds dual Palestinian-French citizenship. He was detained during an overnight raid on his home in the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Kafr Aqab on 23 August.
“Is this the anti-Semitic terrorist that France wants to see freed?” Meyer asks.
Then, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the leader of the left-wing La France Insoumise movement, leads a walk-out.
Habib denounced the lawmakers who walked out as “Islamo-leftists”, also arguing that those who had planned to travel to Palestine with a government delegation were showing solidarity with terrorists.
“Anti-Zionism is the new anti-Semitism,” he shouts, amid calls for silence from the speaker of the house.
Israel has repeatedly attempted to further its own narrative about Palestinian prisoners, one that is often shown to be falsified when evidence is examined independently.
Whilst France can usually be relied upon to support Israel on global fronts like the UN, its indulgence does not extend to the detention of French citizens without trial.