A federal complaint demands that the US stop providing Israel with its $3.8 billion in military aid each year.
A lawsuit has been filed against the US president and two cabinet officials for their alleged failure to stop and encouragement of “genocide” in Gaza.
President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin are accused in a federal complaint (PDF) filed on Monday of “failure to prevent and complicity in the Israeli government’s unfolding genocide.”
The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), a civil liberties organization based in New York, filed the lawsuit on behalf of Palestinian human rights organizations, Palestinians living in Gaza, and US citizens who have family living in the besieged area that has been under constant bombardment by Israel—an entity that receives financial support and armaments from the US government—for more than a month.
Since Israel began attacking Gaza on October 7, more than 11,200 Palestinians have died there. This came after a Hamas strike that claimed over 1,200 lives in Israel.
The CCR stated in the opening of their case that “many Israeli government leaders have expressed clear genocidal intentions and deployed dehumanizing characterizations of Palestinians, including ‘human animals’.”
It claimed that the “mass killing” of Palestinians and those “statements of intent” demonstrate “evidence of an unfolding crime of genocide.”
Humanitarians, legal experts, and rights organizations have all referred to Israel’s conduct in Gaza as genocide.
“I funded Israel’s murder of my cousins.”
According to the complaint, the US is Israel’s closest friend, staunchest defender, and largest military aid supplier; Israel has received the greatest total amount of US foreign aid from the US since World War II. It stated that as a result, the US could be able to “deter Israeli officials from pursuing genocidal acts against the Palestinian people.”
Instead, the organization claimed that by continuing to give Israel unrestricted military and diplomatic backing while undermining attempts by the international community to halt Israel’s bombing, Biden, Blinken, and Austin “have helped advance the gravest of crimes.”
“President Biden offered ‘unwavering’ support for Israel immediately after the start of Israel’s unprecedented bombing campaign on Gaza, which he and administration officials have consistently repeated and backed up with military, financial, and political support, even as Israeli genocidal rhetoric escalated alongside mass civilian casualties,” the CCR said.
Astha Sharma Pokharel, an attorney with the CCR, stated in an interview with Al Jazeera that “they have a significant responsibility under federal law, under customary international law, to stop supporting this genocide and to prevent this genocide.” They have failed at every turn and at every stage of the process. They have been covering Israel, they have kept giving it material assistance, and they presently plan to send Israel additional cash and weaponry.
US citizen Laila al-Haddad, one of the case’s plaintiffs, has lost five relatives in Gaza as a result of Israel’s airstrikes.
“There’s no way around it—I paid for Israel to kill my aunt and cousins,” the woman told Al Jazeera. “My tax money was the one that transported those bombs to Israel in order to murder my family. Therefore, I believe that it is my special duty, along with all other American taxpayers, to keep our government and elected leaders accountable.
The complaint also demands a stop to the US’s $3.8 billion yearly military aid to Israel.
Al Jazeera has asked the White House for comment on the matter; they have not yet received a response.