Ramallah, January 31, 2024—A U.S. federal judge issued a ruling indicating that Israel is “plausibly” committing genocide in Gaza and “implores” the Biden administration to examine the impact of their “unflagging” support.
A U.S. federal judge concluded that Israel is “plausibly” carrying out genocide against Palestinians in Gaza and that the Biden administration is providing “unflagging support” after hearing oral arguments in an Oakland, California district court on January 26. The hearing included testimony from seven Palestinian plaintiffs asking the court to order President Biden, Secretary of State Blinken, and Secretary of Defense Austin to stop providing military and diplomatic support to Israel amid the ongoing genocide of Palestinians.
“First the International Court of Justice, and now the United States federal courts have concluded Israeli forces are plausibly carrying out genocide against Palestinians in Gaza,” said Khaled Quzmar, General Director at Defense for Children International, who testified at the hearing. “Starting with the Biden administration, the West must end its unconditional support for Israel’s regime and act now to save Palestinian lives.”
The judge also wrote in his conclusion that “It is every individual’s obligation to confront the current siege in Gaza.”
The court dismissed the case on jurisdictional grounds, relying on precedent that the judicial branch cannot rule on foreign policy decisions made by the executive branch.
The hearing included the testimony of several plaintiffs, including DCIP, Al-Haq, Palestinians in Gaza, and Palestinian-Americans with family in Gaza. The final witness was Jewish history and Holocuast expert Dr. Barry Trachtenberg, who testified that Israel’s actions meet the textbook definition of genocide. The hearing was scheduled to ask the judge to file an injunction, or an emergency order, to instruct the Biden administration to stop providing weapons and diplomatic support to Israel amid the ongoing genocide of Palestinians.
The hearing was widely covered in U.S. and international media, including the New York Times, Al Jazeera, TIME, The Independent, and The Intercept, among others. Quzmar published an op-ed in The Nation detailing why he decided to testify.
The lawsuit, filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights in a federal court in California on November 13, asks the courts to stop President Biden, Secretary of State Blinken, and Secretary of Defense Austin from continuing to provide weapons, military funding, and diplomatic support to Israel as U.S. government officials have a legal duty to prevent genocide.
The lawsuit argues that the Biden administration is in violation of customary international law, codified in the 1948 Genocide Convention and the Genocide Convention Implementation Act passed by Congress in 1988.
The plaintiffs in the case are Palestinian human rights organizations Defense for Children International - Palestine and Al-Haq; Palestinians in Gaza Ahmed Abu Artema, Dr. Omar Al-Najjar, and Mohammad Abu Rukbeh; and Palestinian-Americans Mohammad Monadel Herzallah, Laila Elhaddad, Waeil Elbhassi, Basim Elkarra, and A.N. More than 100 members of the plaintiffs’ family members had been killed by the Israeli bombardment and ground invasion into the Gaza Strip as of November 13.