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Israel army unit ‘kills Palestinians for no real reason,’ party leader says

April 22, 2024 at 9:11 am

Leader of the Israeli Labour Party (HaAvoda) Merav Michaeli in Tel Aviv on March 1, 2021. [EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images]

Israeli Labor Party leader Merav Michaeli yesterday called for the dismantling of an army unit with a history of abuses, saying it is killing Palestinians “for no real reason”, Anadolu agency reported.

Her call came amid reports that the US was preparing to impose sanctions on the Netzah Yehuda battalion over human rights violations committed by the combat unit against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

“The sanctions are an acknowledgment of the reality and an understanding that Israel’s conduct in the territories cannot continue,” Michaeli said on X.

“The violent and corrupt conduct of the Netzah Yehuda battalion and those around it has been known for years, and nothing has been done to stop it.” The Israeli party leader said that Washington established a team two years ago to investigate the conduct of the army unit. “The political and military echelons cannot pretend they did not know about it,” she added. “Instead of wising up and dealing with the situation, we get yet another dose of denial and foot-dragging, lies and covering up the bitter reality.”

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Michaeli said the Netzah Yehuda battalion should have been disbanded many years ago.“This is a regiment of ‘hilltop youth’ and those who see religion as an excuse to attack Arabs,” she added.

“It’s a battalion that kills Palestinians for no real reason and beats and abuses them.”

Responding to War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz’s statement that the unit is “an inseparable part” of the Israeli army, Michaeli said that “automatically defending” the battalion “casts a heavy shadow over the entire IDF.”

The battalion was established in 1999 as a special military unit for ultra-Orthodox Jews, and all soldiers and officers in it are men.