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'The most difficult case': US judge deliberates suit accusing Biden of failing to stop genocide

US District Judge Jeffrey S White is expected to issue a decision in coming days
Students participate in a 'Walkout to fight Genocide and Free Palestine' at Bruin Plaza at UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) in Los Angeles on 25 October 2023 (Frederic J. Brown/AFP)

A federal judge in Oakland, California is studying testinomy heard in a lawsuit against US President Joe Biden, who is being sued by a group of American Palestinians and aid groups accusing him of failing to prevent genocide in the Gaza Strip.

The lawsuit, which claims that Biden failed to fulfil his obligations to international and federal law, was originally filed by several plaintiffs as a last-ditch attempt to stop the deaths of their family members in Gaza.

Despite multiple attempts by the Biden administration to dismiss the case, US District Judge Jeffrey S White allowed for a live hearing.

Some of those who testified spoke directly from Gaza, including Dr. Omar al-Najjar, who spoke from a hospital in Rafah. 

"I have nothing left but my grief … They weakened us for years and continued to unleash bullets and missiles on our lifeless bodies," said Najjar, who was the first among several Palestinians who testified.

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Following the hearing, Judge White lamented that the case was the "the most difficult case" he had ever presided over. 

"In 27 years this is the most difficult case to have come before this court in terms of facts and law," he said.

'This is the most difficult judicial decision in my life'

- Jeffrey S White, US District Judge

"Testimonies we heard were horrifying and gut-wrenching," he continued.

"To the [Palestinian] witnesses we heard today... I say you have been seen and heard… I will study your testimonies and the law and fulfill my constitutional obligation… this is the most difficult judicial decision in my life and I will take it with the utmost seriousness."

The judge is expected to issue a decision in the coming days.

The plaintiffs are asking the judge for an injunction that would halt any additional military aid or diplomatic support to Israel in its ongoing siege of Gaza, where more than 25,000 Palestinians, including more than 10,000 children, have been killed in recent months. 

Laila el-Haddad, a Palestinian American and plaintiff in the case, told Middle East Eye that the case "signifies that you cannot dismiss genocide - or complicity in genocide - so easily".

"We consider this a huge victory and a sign that our efforts are making a difference," Haddad continued.

For some of the Palestinian plaintiffs in the US lawsuit, the case was a final attempt to put a stop to Israel's carnage in Gaza. However, in addition to the case continuing in California, the legal battle to label Israel's military campaign in Gaza a genocide has grown.

In December, South Africa submitted its case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), accusing the country of genocide in Gaza.

Some of the Palestinian plaintiffs in the Oakland case were at The Hague the week during the ICJ hearings, showing support for the case and highlighting its interconnectedness with their legal battle inside the US - the largest supporter of Israel and its military.

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