U.S. court says assault on Gaza is plausible case of genocide – Mondoweiss

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A U.S. court in Oakland dismissed a lawsuit accusing the Biden administration of failing to prevent in a genocide in Gaza. However, it also called on The White House to reflect on its “unflagging support” for Israel’s assault and said the genocide charges were “plausible.”

The conclusion of the court’s decision makes it clear that the case was reluctantly dismissed on jurisdictional grounds.

“There are rare cases in which the preferred outcome is inaccessible to the Court,” wrote U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White. “This is one of those cases. The Court is bound by precedent and the division of our coordinate branches of government to abstain from exercising jurisdiction in this matter. Yet, as the ICJ has found, it is plausible that Israel’s conduct amounts to genocide. This Court implores Defendants to examine the results of their unflagging support of the military siege against the Palestinians in Gaza.”

The decision also acknowledges that testimony from the case was compelling, and it cites the International Court of Justice’s recent ruling on Israel.

“The undisputed evidence before this Court comports with the finding of the ICJ
and indicates that the current treatment of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip by the Israeli military may plausibly constitute a genocide in violation of international law,” reads the decision. “Both the uncontroverted testimony of the Plaintiffs and the expert opinion proffered at the hearing on these motions as well as statements made by various officers of the Israeli government indicate that the ongoing military siege in Gaza is intended to eradicate a whole people and therefore plausibly falls within the international prohibition against genocide.”

On January 26 the federal court began hearing testimony in Defense for Children International – Palestine v. Biden, a historic legal effort launched by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) on behalf of the two Palestinian human rights organizations and eight Palestinians living in the United States.

The organizations Defense for Children International–Palestine (DCIP) and Al-Haq, have both documented Israeli human rights violations for years. Every Palestinian plaintiff has lost multiple family members as a result of Israel’s assault on Gaza.

In December, the administration filed a motion to dismiss the case, insisting that a ruling would be outside jurisdiction, but they did not push back on the claim that they’re potentially complicit in a genocide.

The court was ultimately receptive to Biden’s argument. “Because any determination to challenge the decision of the executive branch of government on support of Israel is fraught with serious political questions, the claims presented by plaintiffs here lie outside the Court’s limited jurisdiction,” wrote White.

However, while advocates are disappointed in the decision, they point out it is far from a victory for the administration.

“The court affirmed that what the Palestinian population in Gaza is enduring is a campaign to eradicate a whole people – genocide – and that the United States’ unflagging support for Israel is enabling the killing of tens of thousands of Palestinians and the famine facing millions,” said Center for Constitutional Rights Senior Staff Attorney Katherine Gallagher. “While we strongly disagree with the court’s ultimate jurisdictional ruling, we urge the Biden administration to heed the judge’s call to examine and end its deadly course of action. Together with our plaintiffs, we will pursue all legal avenues to stop the genocide and save Palestinian lives.”

“It is important that the court recognized the United States is providing unconditional support to Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza and that a federal court heard Palestinian voices for the first time, but we are still devastated that the court would not take the important step to stop the Biden administration from continuing to support the slaughter of the Palestinian people,” Plaintiff Mohammed Monadel Herzallah. “Currently, my family lacks food, medicine, and the most basic necessities for survival. As Palestinians, we know this is a hard struggle, and as plaintiffs we will continue to do everything in our power to save our people’s lives.” 

The United States government provides Israel with more than $3.8 billion in military aid every year and Biden is seeking congressional approval for an additional $14 billion.

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