Netanyahu vows to fight US sanctions on IDF unit accused of violations in West Bank

Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu

© APA | Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu

# 22 April 2024 14:36 (UTC +04:00)

Benjamin Netanyahu has said he will fight against any efforts to impose sanctions on Israeli military units, amid reports that an Israel Defense Forces battalion is facing US sanctions over its treatment of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, APA reports citing the Guardian.

The US outlet Axios reported on Saturday that US State Department officials have confirmed they are preparing to impose sanctions on the IDF’s Netzah Yehuda battalion, which has been accused of serious human rights violations against Palestinians. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Sunday that the US was also considering similar moves against other police and military units.

The highly significant move, which would be the first time the US government has targeted an IDF unit, comes as the US Congress voted for $26bn in new emergency aid to Israel.

“If anyone thinks they can impose sanctions on a unit of the IDF – I will fight it with all my strength,” the Israeli prime minister said in a statement. “I’ve been working in recent weeks against the sanctioning of Israeli citizens, including in my conversations with the American administration,” Netanyahu wrote on X.

“At a time when our soldiers are fighting terrorist monsters, the intention to issue sanctions against a unit in the IDF is the height of absurdity and a moral low,” he added.

The IDF said it was unaware of any sanctions in force against any of its units and added: “If a decision is made on the matter, it will be reviewed.”

The sanctions, which would be imposed under the 1997 Leahy law, would prohibit the transfer of US military aid to the unit and prevent soldiers and officers participating in training either with the US military or in programs that receive US funding.