New York: The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) has filed on behalf of a group of Palestinian Human Rights Organizations, residents of Gaza, and U.S. citizens with family members impacted by Israel’s relentless bombings and indiscriminate killing of civilians in Gaza a lawsuit against the Biden administration for failing to “prevent an unfolding genocide”.
The Center for Constitutional Rights filed the criminal suit against the Joe Biden administration with the law firm of Van Der Hout, LLP in a California federal district court.
The Palestinians and the family members of those affected by the Zionist warmongers in their 89-page lawsuit asked the federal court to enjoin President Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin from providing further arms, money, and diplomatic support to Israel on grounds that there is an unfolding genocide by the State of Israel against the civilian population of Gaza and the U.S. officials have a legal duty to prevent, and not further, this most serious of crimes.
Biden, Blinken, and Austin, as outlined in the complaint, are sued in their official capacity for failing to prevent an unfolding genocide where they have influence over the State of Israel to do so, and directly abetting its development with weapons, funds, and diplomatic cover, in breach of duties enshrined in the Genocide Convention and customary international law, Center for Constitutional Rights said in a statement released Monday November 13.
The lawsuit is accompanied by a declaration from the leading legal expert on genocide, William Schabas, who identifies features of the Israeli government’s statements, deadly military assault, and total siege as signs of genocide and affirms the United States’ breach of its legal duty to prevent genocide, the center said.
A separate expert declaration by the genocide and Holocaust scholars Drs. John Cox, Victoria Sanford, and Barry Trachtenberg, explained how the genocidal intentions and actions of Israeli leadership resemble other genocides in recent history.
The complaint, which seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, cites the U.S. government’s unconditional support for Israel as it bombs the people of Gaza and deprives them of food, water, and other necessities.
The complaint states that even the crimes committed by the military wing of Hamas on October 7th that killed an estimated 1,200 Israeli people, including many civilians, and kidnapped 240, cannot legally justify the forms of targeting an entire population and collective punishment meted out by the Israeli government, let alone genocide.
Since October 8th, Israel has killed over 11,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip – mostly civilians, including more than 4,600 children – and displaced 1.5 million.
Thousands of Palestinians remain missing, and Israel’s destruction of hospitals, schools, and most infrastructure in Gaza – as well as intentional deprivation of access to food, water, electricity, and medicine – has rendered life in Gaza impossible.
“To be honest, it’s difficult to revisit all the scenes of the past weeks. They open a door to hell when I recall them,” said Dr. Omar Al-Najjar, a 24-year-old intern physician at Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Yunis and a plaintiff in the case.
“I’ve lost five relatives, treated too many children who are the sole survivors of their families, received the bodies of my fellow medical students and their families, and seen the hospital turn into a shelter for tens of thousands of people as we all run out of fuel, electricity, food, and water. The U.S. has to stop this genocide. Everyone in the world has to stop this", Dr. Omar said.
In addition to Dr. Al-Najjar, the other plaintiffs in the case are the Palestinian human rights organizations Defense for Children International–Palestine and Al-Haq.
Among the individuals who filed the case against the American administration are Ahmed Abu Artema and Mohammed Ahmed Abu Rokbeh, who are in Gaza, and Mohammad Monadel Herzallah, Laila Elhaddad, Waeil Elbhassi, Basim Elkarra, and “A.N.”, who are U.S. citizens with family in Gaza.
All have had multiple family members killed, subjected to the closure of Gaza, and displaced, the Center for Constitutional Rights said.
The Israeli military has targeted civilian areas and infrastructure, including using chemical weapons, and deprived Palestinians of basic necessities for life, the complaint says, while dehumanizing Palestinians as “human animals” that are undeserving of human rights protections and vowing to “eliminate everything”, making clear the “emphasis is on damage and not accuracy.”
Gaza had already been subject to five prior bombing campaigns and a nearly 17-year military closure and ongoing occupation that had made Gaza an open air prison.
“For the last five weeks, President Biden and Secretaries Blinken and Austin have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with an Israeli government that has made clear its intention to destroy the Palestinian population in Gaza", said Katherine Gallagher, a senior attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights and one of the lawyers who brought the case.
"As neighborhood after neighborhood, hospital after hospital, and sheltering displaced Palestinians were bombed, while subject to a total siege and closure that denies 2.2 million people basic necessities for life, they have continued to provide both military and political support for Israel’s unfolding genocidal campaign while imposing no red lines", she added.
“The United States has a clear and binding obligation to prevent, not further, genocide. They have failed in meeting their legal and moral duty to use their considerable power to end this horror. They must do so", she said.
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