A federal judge in Texas has rejected the Biden administration’s attempt to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a Republican lawmaker and three others seeking to block US aid to the West Bank and Gaza.
According to the lawsuit, the US is illegally funding the Palestinian Authority.
The lawsuit was filed in 2022, well before the October 7th attack by Hamas militants — who govern the Gaza Strip — on southern Israel, which sparked a war.
The legal challenge does not target funds that would benefit Hamas. The targets are funds that, according to the lawsuit, could assist the Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-government in some areas of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
The US Department of Justice asked federal judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, from Amarillo, to conclude that Texas Republican lawmaker Ronny Jackson and three others who regularly visit Israel could not file a lawsuit to challenge foreign aid.
The Department of Justice argues that the plaintiffs, represented by America Legal First, a legal group founded by former White House advisor to Donald Trump, Stephen Miller, had no legal grounds to sue because their claims of increased risk of harm were “purely speculative.”
In addition, the Department of Justice argued that any risk of future harm was due to the actions of others, such as foreign militants, and not the US government, and defended that dismissal was justified to avoid involving the courts in a high-level foreign policy issue.
But Kacsmaryk, a judge appointed by former Republican President Donald Trump, ruled on Friday that the individuals had demonstrated a “legitimate and reasonable” fear that funding would continue, “further substantiated by recent global events.”
Kacsmaryk pointed to the October 7th attack by Hamas militants in Israel, which killed about 1,200 people, as evidence that their fears were legitimate when they filed the lawsuit in 2022.