Palestinian Americans’ Lawsuit in Oakland Seeks to Halt U.S. Support for Israel

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Palestinian American plaintiffs asked a federal judge in California on Friday to force the White House to withdraw U.S. support for Israel pending a cease-fire in Gaza and accused President Biden and other administration officials of abetting a genocide of the Palestinian people.

In more than two hours of testimony before Judge Jeffrey White in U.S. District Court in Oakland, plaintiffs in the unusual lawsuit expressed grief and outrage, choking back tears as they spoke of their loved ones who have been killed in Gaza.

One Palestinian immigrant, who lives in Fairfield, Calif., said seven members of his family had been killed in airstrikes in Gaza, including the children of a cousin “who is like a brother to me.” Another, living in San Ramon, Calif., said his family had lost more than 100 members, and a single Israeli attack had killed his cousin, his cousin’s son, and 14 members of a neighbor’s family.

The testimony came in the second judicial proceeding in a day to frame Israel’s bombardment of the embattled Palestinian enclave as a potentially grave violation of the 1948 Genocide Convention. Hours earlier, the United Nations’ highest judicial body ordered Israel to prevent genocidal acts by its forces, as part of that court’s consideration of formal charges that Israel’s response to Hamas-led terrorist attacks on Oct. 7 was crafted to deny Palestinians the right to exist.

The federal case in Northern California is unlikely to succeed, given legal precedents that limit judicial power over U.S. presidents on foreign policy decisions. But the lawsuit has energized pro-Palestinian activists, who have convinced about a dozen local governments in the Bay Area, Atlanta and other regions of the country to call for a cease-fire in Gaza.

Telling the plaintiffs that he wanted them to know that they “have been seen,” the judge called the testimony “gut wrenching” and the case “probably the most difficult” he had ever dealt with.

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Palestinian Americans’ Lawsuit in Oakland Seeks to Halt U.S. Support for Israel

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