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Israel will fight any US sanctions on army units, Netanyahu says 

April 22, 2024 at 12:29 pm

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) chairs a Cabinet meeting at the Kirya, in Tel Aviv on December 17, 2023 [MENAHEM KAHANA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday that he would fight any sanctions imposed on any Israeli military unit, after media reported that Washington intended to take measures against a unit due to its human rights violations in the occupied West Bank.

Axios news website reported on Saturday that Washington intends to impose sanctions on the Netzah Yehuda battalion that carries out operations in the occupied West Bank.

On Friday, the US announced the imposition of a new series of sanctions against Israeli settlers in the West Bank, in the latest indication of growing American frustration with Netanyahu’s policies, whose coalition government relies on settler parties.

“If somebody thinks they can impose sanctions on any IDF unit, I’ll fight that with all my might,” Netanyahu said in a statement.

The US State Department declined to make further comments other than those made by Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday.

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

Blinken announced that he has made “determinations” regarding accusations that Israel violated a set of US laws that prohibit providing military assistance to individuals or security force units that commit gross violations of human rights.

Last week, the Pro Publica investigative news organisation reported that a special State Department panel known as the Israel Leahy Vetting Forum had made a recommendation to Blinken several months ago that multiple Israeli military and police units be disqualified from receiving US aid due to alleged human rights violations.

The organisation said that the incidents regarding these accusations occurred in the West Bank and that most of them occurred before the start of Israel’s bombing campaign in Gaza in October last year.

Before the Gaza war, violence was already escalating in the West Bank, but its intensity has grown since the start of the war, with Israel launching occasional raids and settlers attacking Palestinian villages and properties.

The commander of the Netzah Yehuda unit was reprimanded in 2022, and two officers were dismissed due to the death of an elderly American of Palestinian origin who the unit’s soldiers had arrested in the West Bank, an incident that raised concerns in Washington.