Historical Precedent: Potential U.S Sanctions Against an IDF Unit over Human Rights Concerns


by Ifi Reporter Category:Government Apr 21, 2024

Journalist Barak Ravid reported on the Axios website yesterday evening that the United States is poised to impose sanctions on the Netzah Yehuda Battalion due to alleged human rights violations against Palestinians in Judea and Samaria. If implemented, this would mark the first time the US administration has sanctioned an Israeli military unit.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is expected to announce the sanctions in the coming days, according to the report. The sanctions would prohibit the transfer of American military aid to the battalion and prevent its soldiers and officers from participating in training with the US Army.

Netzah Yehuda Battalion Under Scrutiny for Alleged Abuses

The potential sanctions follow an incident from two years ago, where Netzah Yehuda soldiers were recorded beating Palestinians without cause. The soldiers involved were suspended, and an investigation was launched by the military police. IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi condemned the incident, stating it was contrary to IDF values and would be thoroughly investigated.

US Cites Leahy Act in Decision-Making Process

Secretary Blinken explained that the decision to consider sanctions was based on the Leahy Act, which limits military aid to foreign forces that violate international law. While the US has not previously applied the law to the IDF, Blinken emphasized the importance of upholding it in all respects.

Israeli Government and Officials React Strongly

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other government officials have strongly condemned the proposed sanctions. Netanyahu labeled the move as "absurd" and "morally reprehensible," asserting that it is forbidden to impose sanctions on the Israel Defense Forces.

Criticism and Response from Israeli Officials

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and Minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir echoed Netanyahu's sentiments, labeling the decision as madness and emphasizing the IDF's adherence to international law. Communications Minister Shlomo Karai criticized the US's decision, calling it delusional and unacceptable.

Support from Netzah Yehuda Battalion Graduates

In response, graduates of the Netzah Yehuda Battalion have rallied support, demanding an immediate response from military leadership. A WhatsApp group called "I am also Netzah Yehuda" was created, highlighting the unity among soldiers and the demand for unequivocal support from the Chief of Staff and Minister of Defense.



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