US District Judge Dismisses Lawsuit on Israel’s Actions in Gaza, Citing Lack of Jurisdiction, But Offers Scathing Criticism

Oakland, California – A U.S. district judge in California dismissed a lawsuit on Wednesday that demanded the Biden administration to take action in order to stop Israel from bombing Gaza. U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White stated that he did not have jurisdiction over the matter while expressing strong criticism towards the administration. He acknowledged the possibility that Israel’s actions could qualify as genocide. The lawsuit was filed in November by Palestinian human rights organizations and individuals who lost family members in the Israeli assault following an attack by Hamas.

The complaint sought to compel President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to fulfill their duty to prevent the ongoing genocide of Palestinians in Gaza. However, White chose not to issue a preliminary injunction and dismissed the case, emphasizing that there are situations where the court cannot achieve the desired outcome.

Despite dismissing the lawsuit, White voiced his concerns about the White House’s unwavering support for the military siege against Palestinians in Gaza. He urged the administration to critically evaluate the consequences of this support. The suit aimed to declare that the defendants violated their responsibilities to prevent and not be complicit in genocide. It also sought immediate relief, including ordering U.S. officials to use their influence to halt Israel’s bombings, lift the siege in Gaza, and cease providing arms to Israel. Furthermore, the plaintiffs requested the defendants to stop obstructing international efforts to call for a cease-fire in Gaza.

Among the plaintiffs were Defense for Children International, Palestinians in Gaza, and Waeil Elbhassi, a Palestinian-American citizen residing in San Ramon. While the lawsuit faced dismissal, it has raised awareness of the Palestinian American community’s calls for a cease-fire and their demand for the U.S. to halt weapon supplies to Israel. These activists have taken to the streets, protesting and urging local city and county governments to adopt cease-fire resolutions, despite their limited influence over foreign policy.

Judge White referred to the case as the most challenging judicial decision he has ever encountered after hearing hours of testimony. Laila El-Haddad, a journalist based in Maryland who lost nearly 90 members of her extended family to Israeli attacks, and Dr. Omar Al-Najjar, a healthcare worker in Rafah, Gaza, both served as plaintiffs in the case. They highlighted the dire situation in Gaza, with the hospital facing an overwhelming number of patients in need of treatment but suffering from a shortage of medicine.

Israeli authorities claimed that Hamas’s attack on October 7th resulted in approximately 1,200 deaths and the abduction of 250 individuals as hostages. The lawsuit may have been dismissed, but it has illuminated the plight of Palestinians and their supporters, who continue to call for an end to the violence in Gaza and for U.S. officials to take substantial action.