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'There Must Be Accountability': Tlaib, Bush Back ICJ Case Against Israel

After reading from South Africa's 84-page application on the House floor, Tlaib said that both the Biden administration and Congress were "complicit in this genocide" but stressed that there was still "time to save lives."

U.S. Congresswomen Cori Bush and Rashida Tlaib on Thursday expressed support for South Africa's case at the International Court of Justice accusing Israel of genocide in the Gaza Strip as the ICJ began two days of related hearings in The Hague.

"We unequivocally join world leaders and international human rights organizations in support of South Africa's case before the International Court of Justice alleging Israel violated the Genocide Convention," said Bush (D-Mo.) and Tlaib (D-Mich.) in a joint statement. "There must be an end to the violence—and there must be accountability for the blatant human rights abuses and mass atrocities occurring in the region."

"We must refuse to be silent as the majority of the world is calling for an end to the violence and mass human suffering, and the need for accountability."

"The historical significance of a post-apartheid state filing this case must not be lost, and the moral weight of their prerogative cannot be dismissed," they continued. "The United States has a devastating role in the ongoing violence in Gaza, where already over 23,000 Palestinians have been killed, more than 59,000 injured, and millions have been displaced. We must refuse to be silent as the majority of the world is calling for an end to the violence and mass human suffering, and the need for accountability."

The pair added that "as one of the countries that has agreed to the Genocide Convention, the U.S. must stop trying to discredit and undermine this case and the international legal system it claims to support.

Our commitment to protecting the human rights of all people must be unconditional. The best time to make a conclusive determination on genocide is when there is still time to stop it, not after. We will continue pushing for a lasting ceasefire, full accountability, and a just and lasting peace for everyone."

Tlaib, the only Palestinian American in Congress, and Bush were both outspoken critics of the Israeli government and occupation long before the Hamas-led attack on October 7 and they have been leading voices against Israel's disproportionate and indiscriminate response, including by spearheading a cease-fire resolution in the House.

Tlaib also took to the House floor Thursday morning. Noting that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier this week called the ICJ case "meritless," she said, "Let me read directly from the case file starting on page 59, 'Expressions of Genocidal Intent against the Palestinian People by Israeli Officials,' so you can hear directly from the Israeli officials in their own words, not mine."

After reading remarks from Israeli leaders including President Isaac Herzog, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and Deputy Knesset Speaker Nissim Vaturi, Tlaib argued: "There is simply time to save lives—to stop the Israeli government from carrying out the genocide in Gaza. This body and the Biden administration are complicit in this genocide. Congress must stop funding the genocide of the Palestinian people with our American tax dollars."

Israel already got $3.8 billion in annual U.S. military aid before decimating Gaza over the past three months. Since Israel declared war, President Joe Biden has asked federal lawmakers for a $14.3 billion package still under consideration while also bypassing Congress to arm Israeli forces.

Meanwhile, elected officials in the United States and around the world are growing increasingly critical of Israel's blockade and bombardment of Gaza. Bush is among a dozen U.S. lawmakers and hundreds from other countries who have signed a new global call for a cease-fire, led by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Sevim Dağdelen, a leftist German parliamentarian.


Common Dreams, 2024


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