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US Republican Bill seeks protections for Americans serving in Israeli army

May 23, 2024 at 3:46 pm

Israeli soldier controlling a tank as military mobilization of Israeli army near Gaza border continues on May 16, 2024. [Mostafa Alkharouf – Anadolu Agency]

While calls for prosecuting soldiers serving in the Israeli army for war crimes and crimes against humanity are growing, Republican lawmakers in the US are seeking to reward Americans who fight in the Israeli military. Two GOP Congressmen, Guy Reschenthaler and Max Miller, have introduced legislation that would provide the same employment and economic protections to Americans serving in the Israeli military as US citizens who are deployed to serve in the US military.

This move stands in stark contrast to the actions taken by other countries regarding their citizens who have gone to serve in Israel’s military. South Africa, for instance, has stated that it would prosecute its citizens who have served in Israel’s military once they return to the country.

Similarly, France has announced that it would investigate French nationals who are implicated in possible war crimes in Gaza during their time serving in the Israeli military. A UK-based Palestinian legal centre has also requested clarification from the British government on whether it plans to prosecute its citizens serving in the Israeli armed forces.

The Republican bill, if passed, would amend US law and extend certain protections to American citizens who serve in the Israeli military. These protections include safeguards against foreclosure and repossession of rental property, reduction of interest rates on loans taken out before their service, protection from default judgements in legal cases, and the granting of job rights and employment benefits that US veterans receive.

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According to a report by the Washington Post, around 23,380 American citizens are currently serving in the Israeli army. Since 7 October Israel’s military campaign against Palestinians in Gaza have killed more than 36,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, levelled civilian infrastructure, targeted hospitals and schools, and also killed healthcare workers and journalists. Twenty-one Americans serving in Israeli military units are reported to have been killed, with another dying in cross-border exchanges with Lebanon.

The introduction of this legislation by Republican lawmakers has highlighted the differing approaches taken by countries when it comes to their citizens serving in foreign militaries, particularly in light of the ongoing calls for accountability regarding alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Israeli military.