The lawsuit, accusing President Biden and top US officials of failing to prevent genocide in Gaza, faces a motion for dismissal on the eve of the UN Genocide Convention’s 75th anniversary.
Joe Biden’s administration has officially filed a motion in a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit that accuses the president and his administration of failing to prevent a genocide of Palestinians in Gaza.
This legal move comes amid escalating tensions and growing international scrutiny over the US’ continued support for Israel.
Rights groups and legal experts have voiced their concern, arguing that the administration’s attempt to dismiss the lawsuit is a strategy to sidestep legal accountability for what many scholars are describing as acts of genocide committed by Israel against Palestinians in Gaza.
“The US government’s filing is no less disappointing for being predictable,” commented the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), a participant in the lawsuit, in a statement to Middle East Eye.
The Biden administration’s motion, submitted on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations Genocide Convention, contends that the lawsuit should be dismissed because it interferes with the US government’s foreign policy decisions and infringes upon the constitutional separation of powers.
The filing said: “Plaintiffs seek to have the Court override the Executive Branch’s foreign policy and national security determinations.”
The administration argued that the court lacked jurisdiction as Israel, being a foreign sovereign nation, conducts its military and other activities independently of the US.
This claim was contested by lawyers representing the Palestinian plaintiffs, pointing out recent US military and diplomatic support to Israel, including increased arms shipments and billions of dollars in military assistance.
The Biden administration is being increasingly scrutinised over its policy towards Israel’s actions in Gaza.
Israel’s subsequent military campaign in Gaza has resulted in over 17,700 Palestinian deaths, predominantly women and children, according to the Palestinian health ministry.
This mounting death toll, coupled with the displacement of 1.8 million Palestinians and the targeting of civilian infrastructure, has led numerous scholars to warn of potential acts of genocide.
The lawsuit, filed on 13 November by a group of Palestinians in the US and the occupied Palestinian territories, directly accuses President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin of failing to prevent an “unfolding genocide” in Gaza.
The suit references the UN’s Genocide Convention definition, which the US has accepted, and argues that the Biden administration is violating its obligations under the treaty.
As the lawsuit progresses through the US legal system, the Biden administration faces growing discontent domestically and internationally.
Recent actions, including the use of an emergency authority to expedite a shipment of 14,000 tank shells to Israel and the US veto of a UN Security Council resolution for a ceasefire in Gaza, have intensified this scrutiny.
A CCR statement encapsulated the gravity of the situation, stating: “If powerful countries are not held to their human rights obligations to prevent genocide, the law is meaningless.”