An 81-year-old California resident is one of many US citizens who have sued key US officials for their purported failure to evacuate them from the besieged Gaza Strip.
Americans Trapped In Gaza Sue US Government For Evacuation Help
The unidentified woman has been stuck in Gaza since the war broke out, unable to exit into Israel or Egypt. Now her family is suing US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, demanding that US officials evacuate her.
At a press conference revealing the lawsuit, the attorney representing her explained:
“She is in a war. She has no medication. She hasn’t ate or drank for almost 30 days. No lights, no electricity, no beds. I am sure you all have seen it.
“If she attempts to cross by herself, she won’t make it. The state department has not given clearance to any family members to help her in this crossing. She is need of medical attention.”
Her lawsuit is not unique; many have sued the US this week in similar actions seeking to compel evacuation assistance.
I have thoughts specific to Gaza and generally.
Pertaining to Gaza, Hamas has been in power since 2007 and Hamas has been designated a terrorist organization by the US, Canada, and the European Union.
I don’t even know how people get in there in the first place…I tried and failed.
Maybe going to such an enclave constitutes an “assumption of risk” in which realistic and reasonable expectations of evacuation should not be present…
Generally speaking, the US State Department does have a history of evacuating people from war zones (and not charging them for it either), but this is not a constitutional right either explicitly stated or implied.
I’m proud of past US evacuation efforts and in the case of this conflict, working with Egyptian and Israeli authorities to open the Rafah border crossing (which has already made several of these lawsuits moot). I really question whether any further action beyond this is appropriate and certainly do not view it as an obligation of a government to protect citizens who voluntarily enter danger zones.
A number of lawsuits have been filed against US officials demanding travel assistance in evacuating Gaza. While the US may be uniquely situated to help, I see no constitutional prescription for evacuation from any war zone. That said, it was encouraging to see so much movement over the Rafah crossing and I hope that continues.