Society / January 26, 2024

Why I Am Testifying in a Lawsuit Charging Biden With Complicity in Genocide

Through ongoing financial and military support, the Biden administration has not only failed to stop Israel’s genocidal campaign in Gaza but has also enabled it.

Khaled Quzmar
President Joe Biden (L) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet in Tel Aviv, Israel, on October 18, 2023.
President Joe Biden (l) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet in Tel Aviv, Israel, on October 18, 2023. (GPO / Handout / Anadolu via Getty Images)

Last week, President Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the first time in nearly a month, finally picking up the phone as the death toll in Gaza continued to climb and Israeli siege policies made famine imminent.

Once again, Biden failed to obtain any kind of agreement from Netanyahu to so much as ease Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip or to respect the basic tenets of international law. Nor is there any indication that he tried, despite the fact that the United States’s investment in the assault—both financial and military—continues to make the brutality possible. Instead, despite talk of friction between the two men, and as Netanyahu again rebuffed Biden’s call for Palestinian sovereignty, the president continued to offer his undiminished public support.

It is now painfully and undeniably clear that Biden has not only failed to prevent the crime of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza but that his administration is also actively supporting and perpetuating Israel’s genocidal military campaign.

This is why I will testify today in historic proceedings in United States federal court related to a lawsuit my organization—along with other human rights groups and Palestinians in both Gaza and the US—have brought against President Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin for their complicity in the genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. At the hearing, we will be asking the courts to order the Biden administration to stop providing military and diplomatic assistance to Israel.

The Israeli military has killed more than 25,000 Palestinians, including more than 10,000 children, in the last three-and-a-half months. Twice as many have been wounded, and thousands remain missing, presumed to be buried under the rubble of destroyed buildings. Nearly 2 million people have been forcibly displaced in one of the most lethal and destructive bombing campaigns in history, and an airtight siege prevents food, water, medical supplies, and other humanitarian aid from reaching people in need.

Israel’s government and military have done all of this with the active financial, military, and diplomatic support of President Biden and his administration. Israel is the largest recipient of US foreign assistance since World War II, receiving, to date, $158 billion in bilateral assistance and missile system funding (and that is in current, or non-inflation-adjusted, dollars).

On top of that, the Biden administration has twice expedited the sale of even more US weapons to the Israeli military since October, bypassing congressional review each time.

Today’s federal hearing comes two weeks after South Africa invoked the Genocide Convention against Israel at the International Court of Justice. I was in The Hague for the first hearings, and saw representatives of the people of South Africa, who dismantled an apartheid regime in their country, clearly detail the crimes being committed against the Palestinian people by Israel, which continues to be an apartheid regime. It was incredibly moving to witness the struggle for Palestinian human rights being taken seriously in an international court for the first time.

This case, and Biden’s complicity, is personal for me as the leader of a Palestinian child-rights organization with staff in Gaza.

My colleague Mohammad Abu Rukbeh, Defense for Children International–Palestine’s senior field researcher, is living in a tent with his family in southern Gaza. Mohammad, who has been documenting child fatalities and injuries in Gaza for two decades, is from Jabalia, in northern Gaza. Since the beginning of Israel’s military offensive, Israeli air strikes have forced Mohammed to relocate his family half a dozen times. At least eight members of Mohammad’s family have been killed, including several young nephews, and last month, an Israeli soldier shot his mother in the leg. She is diabetic and, since Israel has decimated the healthcare system, her leg was amputated.

The Nation Weekly

Fridays. A weekly digest of the best of our coverage.
By signing up, you confirm that you are over the age of 16 and agree to receive occasional promotional offers for programs that support The Nation’s journalism. You may unsubscribe or adjust your preferences at any time. You can read our Privacy Policy here.

Much of the weaponry with which Israel has been inflicting its violence on Mohammad and the people of Gaza can be traced back to the United States. Israel’s fleet of warplanes as well as the bombs it has been dropping on his neighborhood are produced by Boeing. The soldier who shot his mother in the leg is a member of the Israeli military, which receives $3.8 billion a year in US funding. Mohammad is living in a cold tent with his wife and four young children, who don’t have enough to eat, because Biden has refused to call for a cease-fire that would allow lifesaving humanitarian aid to reach Palestinians in need of food, clean water, medicine, cooking fuel, and warm clothes.

It is easy to fall into despair as each day brings news of a tragedy worse than the day before. But there are a million children still alive in Gaza, and Biden can save their lives.

Every day that passes without a cease-fire, these children get hungrier, thirstier, colder, and sicker. More will be killed by Israeli bombs and more will die of disease that is rapidly spreading in crowded displacement camps. There is still time for these children to grow up—if Biden demands an immediate cease-fire and stops sending weapons to Israel. For their sake, Biden must reverse course and act now to rein Israel in and end its genocidal campaign in Gaza.

Khaled Quzmar

Khaled Quzmar is a Palestinian lawyer and the general director of Defense for Children International–Palestine.

Thank you for reading The Nation!

We hope you enjoyed the story you just read. It takes a dedicated team to publish timely, deeply researched pieces like this one. For over 150 years, The Nation has stood for truth, justice, and democracy. Today, in a time of media austerity, articles like the one you just read are vital ways to speak truth to power and cover issues that are often overlooked by the mainstream media.

This month, we are calling on those who value us to support our Spring Fundraising Campaign and make the work we do possible. The Nation is not beholden to advertisers or corporate owners—we answer only to you, our readers.

Can you help us reach our $20,000 goal this month? Donate today to ensure we can continue to publish journalism on the most important issues of the day, from climate change and abortion access to the Supreme Court and the peace movement. The Nation can help you make sense of this moment, and much more.

Thank you for being a supporter of independent journalism.

More from The Nation

Jack F. Matlock, US ambassador in Moscow

How Former Ambassador Jack Matlock Corrects the Record on American Foreign Policy How Former Ambassador Jack Matlock Corrects the Record on American Foreign Policy

Matlock, now 95 years old, offers a classic example of why our leaders would benefit greatly from more wisdom and less intelligence.

Katrina vanden Heuvel

A group of Palestinian children is pictured at a school run by the UNWRA a in Deir Al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip on February 22, 2024.

The Biden Administration Joins Israel’s War on UNRWA The Biden Administration Joins Israel’s War on UNRWA

Following Washington’s lead, key US allies have cut funding for the United Nations Relief Works Agency for Palestine—making them all complicit in genocide.

Phyllis Bennis

An injured man pulled from the rubble of a collapsed building receives medical treatment after an Israeli air strike hit a residential building in Rafah on February 26, 2024.

“There Was a Woman Lying On the Floor. 15 Minutes Later, She Had Died." “There Was a Woman Lying On the Floor. 15 Minutes Later, She Had Died."

What a medical aid worker saw in Rafah.

Hadas Thier

Meir Kahane (left) and Benjamin Netanyahu (right) edited side by side.

Israel’s Far Right Finally Gets the War It Has Always Wanted Israel’s Far Right Finally Gets the War It Has Always Wanted

Billed as a response to the October 7 Hamas attack, the conflict in Gaza has increasingly become a war to eliminate all Palestinians—a longtime goal of Israel’s homegrown fascists...

James Bamford

A soldier prepares to launch a drone in Afghanistan.

The Killer Robots Are Here. It’s Time to Be Worried. The Killer Robots Are Here. It’s Time to Be Worried.

When the leading advocates of autonomous weaponry tell us to be concerned about the unintended dangers posed by their use in battle, the rest of us should be worried.

Michael T. Klare

Following an Israeli attack in Deir al-Balah, Gaza, a wounded Palestinian child receives medical attention at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital on February 20, 2024.

Aren't the Children of Gaza Worth Saving? Aren't the Children of Gaza Worth Saving?

If our answer is yes, then we have to stop sending Israel the weapons that kill them.

Charles Glass