Prosecutors say the ruling is a victory, despite the dismissal of a case accusing US officials of complicity in the 'genocide' in Gaza.
A U.S. federal court has dismissed a lawsuit accusing President Joe Biden and other senior U.S. officials of complicity in Israel's alleged genocide in Gaza.
However, the judgment of the Court (PDF) urged Biden and his colleagues to examine the “consequences of their flagrant support” for Israel, including its human rights implications.
U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White dismissed the case on procedural grounds late Wednesday, citing separation of powers under the U.S. Constitution. In his conclusion, he said that “controversies over foreign policy are treated as nonjudgmental political questions” and beyond his jurisdiction.
“There are rare cases in which a preferred decision cannot be reached by the Court. This is one of those cases. The Court is bound by precedent and clauses of our consolidated branches of government to refrain from exercising jurisdiction in this matter,” he wrote.
But White added that, as the International Court of Justice (ICJ) said in an interim ruling last month, “Israel's conduct amounts to genocide.”
“This court asks the defendants to examine the consequences of their flagrant support for the military blockade against the Palestinians in Gaza.”
The lawsuit comes as the Biden administration faces mounting pressure to end America's unwavering support for Israel amid its war on Gaza, which has killed more than 27,000 Palestinians since early October.
The complaint, filed late last year by human rights groups and individual Palestinians affected by the war, accused Biden, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin of failing to meet their obligations under international and domestic law to prevent genocide.
The United States, which provides Israel with billions of dollars in military aid annually, is obligated to “exercise its clear and substantial influence over Israel,” the suit argued.
It also pointed to “inhumane” comments by senior Israeli officials, including Defense Minister Yoav Galant, to explain their intention to continue to “exterminate and exterminate the Palestinians.”
While Israel has denied the accusations, international legal experts have called the bombing of Gaza and restrictions on the entry of water, food and other humanitarian supplies tantamount to genocide.
The 1948 Genocide Convention, ratified by the United States, states that “Genocide, whether committed in time of peace or war, is a crime under international law. [state parties] Measures must be taken to prevent and punish.” It also outlines that “complicity in genocide” is a punishable act.
'An end to the deadly act'
Catherine Gallagher, a senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), a nonprofit involved in the case, said the judge's ruling “confirms that what the Palestinian people are enduring in Gaza is a campaign to end an entire people – genocide.”
Conclusion, Gallagher said a ReportAnd affirmed that “US's unflinching support for Israel is enabling the deaths of tens of thousands of Palestinians and the famine facing millions.”
“While we strongly disagree with the court's final jurisdictional ruling, we urge the Biden administration to heed the judge's call to investigate 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.”
The Biden administration, under widespread pressure over its staunch support for Israel, called for the case to be thrown out.
In December, government lawyers argued that the court was being asked to “intrude into areas entrusted to the political branches of government and violate the constitutional separation of powers.”
The @theCCR The team knew this, so the result (waived for PQD) was not surprising. The most notable re-effect was that the Palestinians shared their story and forced the judge to observe that “the facts are indisputable” and convincingly demonstrate that Israel does. #Genocide.
— Noura Erakat (@4noura) February 1, 2024
Despite Wednesday's decision, the court's decision marked an important step for plaintiffs and their supporters to have their arguments heard. A hearing was held last Friday in California, where Palestinians testified about the dire situation in Gaza.
“It is important that the court recognizes the United States' unconditional support for Israel's ongoing genocide in Gaza, and for the first time that a federal court hears the voices of Palestinians,” said Mohammed Monadel Herzalla, a Palestinian American with family in Gaza. CCR report. He is one of the plaintiffs in this case.
“But we are still devastated that the court did not take critical action to stop the Biden administration from continuing to support the slaughter of the Palestinian people,” Herzalla continued.
“Currently, my family lacks food, medicine and basic necessities of survival. As Palestinians, we know this is a difficult struggle, and as advocates, we will do everything we can to save the lives of our people.
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