US court dismisses case against Biden administration over complicity in Gaza war

Judge dismisses case on procedural grounds but offers harsh criticism of White House

Protesters outside the federal court building in Oakland where the case against the Biden administration was brought. Reuters
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A US federal court in the state of California has dismissed a case brought by a group of Palestinians and human rights organisations against President Joe Biden's administration, which was accused of complicity in and failure to prevent an unfolding genocide in Gaza.

However, the court, which issued the decision on Wednesday, did side with a decision by the International Court of Justice that allegations of genocide against Israel were “plausible”. The ICJ also ordered Israel to take all measures possible to prevent genocide.

US District Judge Jeffrey White said he did not have jurisdiction over the matter, writing that “foreign policy is constitutionally committed to the political branches of government and disputes over foreign policy are non-justiciable political questions” that courts are not able to decide.

But the judge did offer harsh criticism of the Biden administration, advising the White House to “examine the results of their unflagging support of the military siege against the Palestinians in Gaza”.

The US-based Centre for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed the suit in November on behalf of the plaintiffs Defence for Children Palestine and the Al-Haq organisation. The suit names three defendants: Mr Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin.

Pressure is mounting on world leaders to bring Israel's war on Gaza to an end, almost four months after it began. More than 27,000 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed.

“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,” the CCR wrote following the dismissal.

Katherine Gallagher, a senior lawyer at the CCR, added that “the United States’ unflagging support for Israel is enabling the killing of tens of thousands of Palestinians and the famine facing millions”.

Updated: February 01, 2024, 4:47 PM