Netanyahu is angry: USA is apparently planning sanctions against Israeli battalion

Netanyahu is angry
USA apparently plans sanctions against Israeli battalion

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A battalion of the Israeli armed forces was targeted by the US State Department for human rights violations in the West Bank some time ago. The unit is now facing sanctions. Prime Minister Netanyahu sees a “moral low point” reached.

The Israeli government has reacted angrily to reports that the US plans to impose sanctions on a controversial army battalion. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on X that night: “No sanctions should be imposed against the Israeli army!” His government will use all means to counter these measures. Benny Gantz, a member of Israel’s war cabinet, said imposing sanctions on the unit would set a dangerous precedent and send the wrong message “to our common enemies” in times of war.

The US news portal Axios had previously reported, citing three people familiar with the matter, that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was expected to announce sanctions against a battalion of the Israeli Defense Forces over human rights violations in the West Bank in the next few days. It would be the first time that the US has imposed sanctions on an Israeli military unit.

Netanyahu: “Peak of absurdity”

Netanyahu continued to write on “At a time when our soldiers are fighting the monsters of terror, the intention to impose sanctions on an IDF (Israel Defense Forces) unit is the height of absurdity and a moral low point.”

According to the Times of Israel, Gantz said measures would be taken to prevent this decision from going through. The infantry unit is “an integral part of the army” and is bound by military and international law. Israel has “strong and independent” courts capable of dealing with alleged violations.

The sanctions would bar the battalion’s members from receiving military support or training from the United States, Axios reported, citing its sources. A US official said Blinken’s decision regarding the so-called Netzah Yehuda unit was based on incidents that occurred in the West Bank before the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel. The battalion has been linked to right-wing extremism and violence against Palestinian civilians, according to the Jerusalem Post. The US State Department therefore initiated investigations in September 2022.

According to Axios, Israel withdrew the unit from the West Bank in January 2023 and has since deployed it mainly in the Golan Heights in the north of the country. Israel conquered the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967. More than 600,000 Israeli settlers live there today. The Palestinians claim the areas for their own state.

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