The massive suit was brought before the US District Court for the District of Columbia on Tuesday. Filed by a group of Palestinians and Americans that includes activist Ahed Tamimi, the lawsuit’s defendants are a who’s-who of enablers of Israeli settlement of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.
Those named include: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo; Israeli-American Zionist activist and major Israeli-American Council and Republican Party bankroller Miriam Adelson; the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC); AIPAC Director of Regional Affairs and Development Brian Shankman and CEO Howard Kohr; US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; Friends of the Israel Defense Forces Executive Director Susan Leven-Abir; Quicken Loans founder and Friends of the IDF bankroller Dan Gilbert; attorney Rudy Giuliani; former Arkansas governor and ardent Zionist advocate Mike Huckabee; US President Donald Trump and his Israel adviser Johnathan Greenblatt; “Deal of the Century” author, senior Trump adviser and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner; and Dov Weissglas, an attorney and adviser to several Israeli prime ministers.
Also named in the suit is Gustaf Cardelius, a Swedish attorney who was exposed by Haaretz as having helped Israeli settlers surreptitiously acquire land in the West Bank to be used as a settlement by buying an abandoned church through a Stockholm-based shell company, Scandinavian Seamen Holy Land Enterprises, in 2008.
Finally, Walid Shoebat is named as a defendant. Shoebat has curried political clout in the US mainstream media by falsely claiming he was an operative in the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) tasked with carrying out terrorist attacks. A 2011 expose by CNN journalist Anderson Cooper busted Shoebat’s story, which he had used in the years after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to push a pro-Israeli message as a “terrorism expert” on US media.
“All of these Defendants have encouraged, financed, ratified, approved, or otherwise aided and abetted the commission of war crimes,” filing lawyer Martin F. McMahon notes in the lawsuit.
Citing the Nuremberg Charter’s definition of war crimes, McMahon notes that settlers financed by several of the defendants “have been engaging in this type of criminal activity for at least 30 years in the OPT.”
“For most Americans, the concepts relied upon by the Palestinian Plaintiffs in this case (i.e. ethnic cleansing, genocide, denationalization, and dehumanization) are foreign concepts not part of normal American vernacular. However, these concepts are as American as apple pie. The indigenous American Indian population and the African slaves brought to America have been victimized by these identical war crimes,” McMahon notes. “Each group has been subject to ethnic cleansing, genocide, expropriation of private property, confinement to reservations and ghettos, wholesale denial of their fundamental freedoms, subjected to a biased criminal justice system, and deemed to be irrelevant and disenfranchised members of American society.”
McMahon drew further comparison between the Israeli state’s actions toward Palestinians under Netanyahu and those by the Nazi German state in the 1930s and 40s toward Jews and other minorities.
The suit seeks a court order that “the land transfer component of the Kushner peace plan shall not be implemented by Defendants Kushner and Trump at this time, and shall be referred to the UN General Assembly instead for resolution,” and asks the UN General Assembly to weigh “whether the Israeli government owes the state of Palestine the sum of $50 billion for the intentional destruction of the OPT, which is forbidden by the Israeli War Manual, the UN Charter, President Lincoln’s Lieber Code, the Nuremberg Principles (Section VI), and the Law of Nations clause in the US Constitution.”
“After this Court has heard the evidence concerning the war crimes committed, financed, promoted, encouraged by the Defendants named herein EFC, Plaintiffs would request that the Court consider whether it is appropriate to entertain a punitive damages award against all 175 Defendants, especially since war crimes, wanton destruction of property, ethnic genocide are involved,” the suit reads.
Common Dreams noted that McMahon has sued foreign governments and entities on behalf of Palestinians in the past. Last year, he filed a $1 billion suit against Israeli settlers and their financial backers in the same federal court based on the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Earlier this month, he also sued Libyan National Army Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, who leads one of the prominent factions in the Libyan civil war, and the government of the United Arab Emirates on behalf of six Libyan families for the defendants’ alleged role in war crimes.