US considers imposing sanctions on Israeli military units

The United States is considering imposing sanctions on one or more Israeli battalions accused of human rights abuses during operations in the occupied West Bank, according to people familiar with the deliberations.

Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said on Saturday that the potential for the Biden administration to impose such sanctions while Israeli forces are at war with Hamas in Gaza is “the height of absurdity and moral depravity.” He said that it was. Prime Minister Netanyahu said on social media. post He said his government would “take all necessary action” against such a move.

News about possible sanctions, Previously reported by Axioswas announced just one day after the House of Representatives approved $26 billion in humanitarian aid to Israel and civilians in conflict zones, including Gaza. If sanctions are imposed, the military aid just approved by Congress cannot be maintained.

On Sunday, Palestinians in the West Bank staged a general strike to protest deadly Israeli military raids on refugee camps. At least 10 people were killed in Saturday’s attack. This is the latest operation in a sweeping economic and security crackdown in the Israeli-occupied territories.

Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed and captured in West Bank attacks since the Hamas-led attack on Israel on October 7, which Israeli authorities describe as a counter-terrorism operation against Hamas and other militant groups. He explains.

Sunday’s strike closed shops, schools, universities and banks in the West Bank and “paralyzed all aspects of life,” according to the Palestinian state news agency Wafa. Public transportation was also suspended.

The possible imposition of sanctions against Netza Yehuda and other battalions would fall under the so-called 1997 year. Leahy Lawprohibits foreign military units accused of human rights abuses from receiving U.S. aid or training.

It is unclear what impact the sanctions will have in practice, given that funding for specific Israeli units is difficult to trace and the battalions in question have not received US training. But it is clear that such a punitive move, especially coming from Israel’s closest ally, will sting.

Netza Yehuda accused of violence against Palestinians It was established in the West Bank in the past for ultra-Orthodox Jewish men whose strict religious observances demand separation of men and women. The battalion also attracts other Orthodox soldiers, including hardline nationalists from the West Bank settler movement.

One of the most egregious episodes attributed to the Netza Yehuda Battalion was the death of a 78-year-old Palestinian American who was restrained, gagged, and handcuffed by members of the unit during a night raid on a village in January 2022. It concerns the death of a man.

An autopsy revealed that Omar Abdelmajeed Assad died of a stress-induced heart attack caused by injuries sustained while being detained. An investigation by the Israeli military justice system found that the actions of the soldiers involved were flawed, with the military saying they “acted inconsistently with what is expected and expected of Israeli soldiers.”

After an investigation, the Israeli military took disciplinary action against three of the unit’s commanders. However, no criminal charges were filed against the soldiers, as the military said at the time that there was no causal link between Assad’s death and the soldiers’ failure to act.

Human rights groups have long accused Israel’s military justice system of covering up wrongdoing and allowing the military to act with impunity.

The Biden administration has warned Israel of rising levels of settler violence against Palestinians and anti-settler activists in the occupied West Bank, imposing economic and travel sanctions on several individuals and recently It also imposed sanctions on two grassroots organizations that were collecting funds. Some of those individuals.

Benny Gantz, a centrist member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wartime cabinet and former military commander, said imposing sanctions on Israeli military units would set a “dangerous precedent.”

The sharp condemnation came hours after Israeli officials welcomed Congress’ bipartisan vote to approve billions of dollars in aid to Israel highlighted the dramatic fluctuations and contradictions that have characterized the recent relationship between President Biden and Mr. Netanyahu.

While Biden reprimanded Netanyahu for civilian deaths in Gaza, he also supported Israel in repelling an attack from Iran this month and providing weapons used in the war there.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said he recently spoke with Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and US Ambassador to Israel Jacob J. Lew.

“Now more than ever, our friends and enemies are watching the relationship between Israel and the United States closely,” Gallant said in a statement early Monday morning. “I call on the U.S. government to rescind its intention to impose sanctions on the Netza Yehuda Battalion.”

Biden has faced criticism and anger from some members of his own party for months over his support for Israel’s war in Gaza, as the death toll in the Gaza Strip rises, and he has faced criticism and anger from some members of his own party over his support for Israel’s war against Israeli forces. Any imposition of sanctions may be viewed as misconduct. A type of counterweight. More than 34,000 Palestinians have died in the six-month war, according to Gaza health officials.

Mick Mulroy, a former CIA official and senior Pentagon official, said in an interview that imposing such sanctions on a close ally like Israel is unusual and “should send a message.”

Charles Blaha, a former State Department director of democracy and human rights, said he hoped the decision to impose sanctions would “incentivize Israel to improve its accountability.”

Sunday’s general strike in the West Bank was not the first lockdown in the region. Protests in recent months. Israeli authorities tightened local regulations from October 7, revoking thousands of permits that had allowed Palestinians to work in Israel, leaving about 500,000 Israeli settlers and about 2.7 million This has put pressure on the economy of the West Bank, where Palestinians live.

Violence in the West Bank has escalated sharply in recent months. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, nearly 500 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the area since the start of the Israeli-Hamas war.

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