Plans To Sanction IDF Unit Are Under Review By The State Department

( — Plans to sanction the IDF’s Netzah Yehuda unit are currently under review by the U.S. State Department due to allegations of the battalion committing various human rights violations against Palestinians residing in Gaza.

The United States initially planned on sanctioning the unit following multiple reports of the Netzah Yehuda battalion abusing prisoners of war, with some of the unit’s soldiers filming the human rights violations and posting them on social media. Despite the evidence of human rights violations, the United States may decide against sanctioning the IDF unit due to mounting pressure from members of Israel’s government, including the country’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu argued against the looming sanctions, publicly demanding the White House avoid issuing the sanctions due to the lack of complaints from Palestinians allegedly abused by the unit. According to Netanyahu and other members of Israel’s government, the State Department can’t sanction the Netzah Yehuda battalion based on evidence that prompted no legal action. When defending the unit’s actions, Netanyahu referred to the lack of civil lawsuits against the unit’s members, which he claims indicates a lack of human rights violations from the battalion’s soldiers.

The potential sanctions stem from a decades-old agreement between Israel and the United States, which gave the United States the ability to withhold funding and resources from military units that violate human rights. Secretary of State Blinken initially planned on reviewing the evidence against the Netzah Yehuda, which could see the unit lose access to United States military funding and training from United States service members. Blinken immediately faced backlash from the pending sanctions, including criticisms from members of Congress.

Among the members of Congress calling for Blinken to avoid sanctioning the Netzah Yehuda unit is Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana). Johnson opposes the sanctions due to their potential impact on aid packages to Israel, which he recently supported in the House of Representatives. Blinken responded to Johnson by stating that the sanctions wouldn’t affect the IDF as a whole but rather the Netzah Yehuda battalion. Blinken said he wouldn’t end his review of the allegations against the IDF unit. Still, Blinken confirmed that he’s cooperating with Israeli officials to determine future actions.

Despite the opposition to the sanctions against the Netzah Yehuda unit, the White House confirmed that Blinken’s review could result in the Biden administration upholding the planned sanctions. The White House addressed the impending sanctions and said that the sanctions would move forward if Israel hadn’t adequately addressed the human rights violations allegedly perpetrated by its military units.

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