May 29, 2024

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Netanyahu Vows to Resist US Sanctions on Israeli Military

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to oppose any sanctions on the nation’s military following reports of potential aid cuts to one unit by the US.

“I will vigorously oppose it,” Netanyahu stated on Sunday.

According to Axios, the US intends to target Israel’s Netzah Yehuda battalion due to alleged human rights violations in the occupied West Bank. When questioned about possible aid cuts to IDF units over human rights concerns in the West Bank, Secretary of State Antony Blinken responded, “I’ve made determinations; you can expect to see them in the days ahead.”

The US, Israel’s primary ally, has never before suspended aid to an IDF unit.

The Israeli military asserts that the Netzah Yehuda battalion operates within international law.

In response to reports of sanctions against the battalion, Israel’s Defence Minister Yoav Gallant urged the US to reconsider, emphasising that the world closely monitors US-Israel relations.

“Any attempt to condemn an entire unit reflects poorly on the IDF’s actions,” Gallant stated.

Axios reported on Saturday that Blinken is likely to announce measures against Netzah Yehuda imminently over alleged abuses in the West Bank, including an incident involving the death of Palestinian-American man Omar Assad.

The IDF expressed regret over Assad’s death and announced disciplinary actions against personnel involved, attributing Assad’s death to a pre-existing medical condition.

The Assad family, based in the US, criticised the decision to close the case.

Any decision to withhold US military assistance from an IDF unit would be made under the “Leahy Law,” aimed at preventing US funding from supporting foreign military units implicated in serious human rights violations.

Last year, a group of US officials examined numerous allegations against Israeli units, including Netzah Yehuda, but faced challenges in advancing recommendations for action.

Established in 1999, Netzah Yehuda is a special unit comprising ultra-Orthodox Jewish men.

Additionally, the US recently imposed sanctions on Israeli far-right activist Ben Zion Gopstein and his organisation, Lehava, for their involvement in destabilising activities in the West Bank.