Israel wants to dissuade the USA from planned sanctions against the military

Israel wants to dissuade the USA from planned sanctions against the military

The US government is apparently planning sanctions against an Israeli military unit because of human rights violations in the West Bank. There is great outrage in Israel, politicians are warning about the consequences for the army.

The Israeli government has called on the US to reconsider its apparent plans to sanction an Israeli military battalion. Sanctioning the largely ultra-Orthodox battalion would not only damage Israel’s international legitimacy in the fight against the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip, but there would also be no justification for the US to do so, said Benny Gantz, a member of Israel’s war cabinet, in a conversation with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday, the Times of Israel reported, citing Gantz’s office. All military units are subject to the army’s code of conduct in accordance with international law. Gantz pointed out that the Israeli justice system is strong and independent.

The US news portal Axios reported on Saturday, citing three people familiar with the matter, that Blinken was expected to announce sanctions in the next few days against a battalion of the Israeli armed forces over human rights violations in the West Bank. It would be the first time that the US has imposed sanctions on an Israeli military unit. According to Axios, these measures would exclude the members of the battalion from military support or training from the USA. The Israeli government reacted with outrage to the report – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the intention to impose sanctions as a “peak of absurdity” and a “moral low point”.

Israel’s policy criticizes planned US sanctions

Israeli Defense Minister Joav Galant also criticized the apparently planned measures: “I expect the American government to reverse its intention to impose sanctions against the Netzah Yehuda Battalion,” said Gallant in a statement published by the Defense Ministry, warning that the planned The move would set a “dangerous” precedent. Israeli President Isaac Herzog also strongly warned the US government against imposing sanctions. “That would be a big mistake,” said Herzog on Sunday in an interview with Springer-Veerlag media. “We have a very strong judiciary,” emphasized the Israeli head of state. They even brought charges against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “No one can escape the law in Israel,” the president said.

The possible sanctions are reportedly based on incidents that occurred in the West Bank before the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7th. The battalion has been linked to right-wing extremism and violence against Palestinians. Israel withdrew the unit from the West Bank in December 2022 and has since deployed it mainly in the north of the country.

The newspaper, citing two US sources, also reported that the US would also consider sanctions against other Israeli military and police units suspected of human rights abuses against Palestinians. The investigations into this have been ongoing for over a year.

Source: Stern

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