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Netanyahu, Trump, and Kushner Named in 'War Crimes' Lawsuit Filed by Palestinians in US Court

The suit claims that the behavior of U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a "violation of the Nuremberg principles."

A Palestinian girl seen with a flag during the clashes on the Gaza-Israel wall east of Khan Yunis on Jan. 4, 2019.

A Palestinian girl seen with a flag during the clashes on the Gaza-Israel wall east of Khan Yunis on Jan. 4, 2019. (Photo: Yousef Masoud/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images)

A Washington attorney on Tuesday filed suit against U.S. President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, U.S. Ambassador David Friedman, White House advisor Jared Kushner, and others for their involvement in "the denationalization and dehumanization of the Palestinian population" in occupied Palestine.

The 175-page suit (pdf), filed on behalf of a group of Palestinians and Americans, claims that the actions of the defendants, most of whom are U.S. and Israeli officials, "have aided and abetted the commission of numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity."

Attorney Martin F. McMahon in the lawsuit describes a long strategy to disenfranchise the Palestinian people by using the levers of power in the federal government, state governments like New York, and groups like AIPAC to deaden criticism of the Israeli regime's treatment of the Palestinian people. 

"If AIPAC was active during the colonial days," writes McMahon, "patriot Tom Payne would have been hanged for advocating independence for the colonies."

Americans should not find the actions of the Israeli government too alien, McMahon says, because the treatment of the Palestinians is analogous to the behavior of U.S. empire:

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. 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 has in the past sued other foreign governments and entities in federal court. In 2019, the lawyer brought a $1 billion suit against Israeli settlers and their American backers to the D.C. District Court. Earlier in February, McMahon filed suit against Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar on behalf of families killed by Haftar's militias. 

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