U.S. to Sanction Israeli Military Unit

The United States government is expected to announce sanctions against a unit in the Israel Defense Forces (idf), “Netzah Yehuda,” for alleged human rights violations in the West Bank, Axios reported on April 20 based on three U.S. sources. This would be the first time the U.S. has imposed sanctions on an Israeli military unit.

Under the 1997 Leahy law, the sanctions would bar the unit from receiving U.S. military assistance or training.

The Netzah Yehuda battalion was formed as a special unit for ultra-Orthodox soldiers. The U.S. has investigated it in the past for incidents of violence against Palestinians, but never before considered sanctioning it.

‘Height of absurdity’: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and members of his cabinet have strongly protested the reports, which come at a time when Israel needs U.S. support most.

At a time when our soldiers are fighting the monsters of terror, the intention to impose a sanction on a unit in the idf is the height of absurdity and a moral low.
—Benjamin Netanyahu

The Netzah Yehuda battalion is an inseparable part of the Israel Defense Forces. It is subject to military law and is responsible for operating in full compliance with international law. … I have great appreciation for our American friends, but the decision to impose sanctions on an idf unit and its soldiers sets a dangerous precedent and conveys the wrong message to our shared enemies during wartime.
—Benny Gantz, Israel’s defense minister

Betraying Israel: Rather than staunchly supporting Israel as it fights Hamas, America has been working against it in various ways, and is now considering sanctions that would weaken Israel’s military. If the sanctions go through, they would send a message to the world that the U.S. is siding with Hamas and the Palestinians.

To learn why the U.S. would betray its ally, read “Betraying Israel in Its Hour of Need.”