South Africa asked the International Court of Justice in late December for an urgent order declaring that Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians in its nearly three-month assault on the Gaza Strip. White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby criticized South Africa’s lawsuit on Wednesday as “meritless, counterproductive, and completely without any basis in fact whatsoever.”
“I cannot be quietly complicit as this administration fails to leverage its influence as Israel’s strongest ally to halt the abusive and ongoing collective punishment tactics that have cut off Palestinians in Gaza from food, water, electricity, fuel, and medical supplies, leading to widespread disease and starvation,” Habash said in his letter.
Over the last three months, our government has aided in the indiscriminate violence against Palestinians in Gaza—over 22,000 civilians killed, thousands more buried under rubble, and the vast majority displaced from their homes. Despite claims that Israel’s focus is on Hamas, its military actions simultaneously persist across the West Bank where there is no Hamas governing presence, with hundreds of Palestinians killed in the West Bank before October and hundreds more killed since. Additionally, thousands of Palestinians have been detained, arrested, and held without charge or trial—a violation of international humanitarian law. Meanwhile, the President has publicly questioned the integrity of Palestinian death counts frequently used by our own State Department, the United Nations, and numerous humanitarian non-governmental organizations. Our representatives at the United Nations have repeatedly voted against the vast majority of the international community, including vetoing resolutions calling for a ceasefire. And administration leaders have even repeated unverified claims that systematically dehumanize Palestinians.
Habash is now the second Biden official known to have resigned in protest over the administration’s response to the situation in Gaza. Josh Paul, who had worked at the State Department for 11 years, resigned in October, slamming the government for its “one-sided” policy that prioritized Israel at the expense of Palestinian civilians.