May 22, 2024
In a historic first, the United States is set to sanction a unit of the Israel Defense Forces. According to three sources speaking with Axios, Secretary of State Antony Blinken will announce sanctions against the IDF’s 97th Netzah Yehuda Battalion. Notably, the sanctions are not due to any actions during the war in Gaza, but […]

In a historic first, the United States is set to sanction a unit of the Israel Defense Forces.

According to three sources speaking with Axios, Secretary of State Antony Blinken will announce sanctions against the IDF’s 97th Netzah Yehuda Battalion. Notably, the sanctions are not due to any actions during the war in Gaza, but rather human rights abuses committed in the West Bank before Oct. 7, 2023.

This photo released by the Israeli military on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023, shows ground operations inside the Gaza Strip. (Israel Defense Forces via AP)

The battalion is made up of ultra-Orthodox Jews with an emphasis on accommodating their religious practices. Following the low enlistment rates among ultra-Orthodox Jews, the battalion recently began to accept far-right youth who were rejected from other combat units. It has not been involved in active combat operations in Gaza.

Among the human rights abuses cited was its involvement in the death of elderly Palestinian American Omar Assad, who died after he was handcuffed, gagged, and forced to lie on his stomach for an extended period. Israel launched an investigation into the incident but decided against pursuing criminal charges against anyone involved, choosing only to “reprimand” one of the commanders.

The sanctions against the unit will prohibit it from receiving any U.S. military aid, participating in activities receiving American funding, and taking part in training with the U.S. military.

Several other units were investigated by the U.S. for abuses but cleared after remedying the behavior. The sanctions against the Netzah Yehuda Battalion will be removed if they are seen to have taken credible moves to remedy the problem as well.

The unit was moved from the West Bank to the Golan Heights after reports of widespread abuses against other Palestinian civilians.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

Though this is the first instance of the U.S. sanctioning an IDF military unit, it is not the first sanctioning of Israelis. The Biden administration previously sanctioned Israeli settlers for attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank.

The Biden administration has sought to balance its own support for Israel with the concerns of progressive voters, who allege Israel is committing genocide in the Gaza Strip. So far, they have been outraged at Biden’s handling of the war, and many are threatening to withhold their votes in November if changes are not made.

Leave a Reply