Report: US set to sanction IDF unit in historical first; Netanyahu: 'Absurd'

Axios reports U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says sanctions against Netzah Yehuda Battalion expected 'very soon'; Israeli officials criticize Biden administration
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to announce for the first time sanctions against the IDF ultra-Orthodox combat unit Netzah Yehuda Battalion for alleged human rights violations against Palestinians in the West Bank, U.S.-based news outlet Axios first reported Saturday.
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תיעוד מפעילות גדוד נצח יהודה בבית חאנון ומפקד גדוד 97 סגן אלוף שלמה
תיעוד מפעילות גדוד נצח יהודה בבית חאנון ומפקד גדוד 97 סגן אלוף שלמה
Netzah Yehuda Battalion soldier
(Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
The sanctions will include, among other things, a prohibition on delivering American weapons to the battalion, and its soldiers and commanders will be barred from joint drills between the IDF and the American military.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized the Biden administration’s intentions and said, “The IDF shouldn’t be placed sanction on.” He added, “While our soldiers are fighting the horror of terrorism, the intentions to place sanctions on an IDF unit is most absurd and a moral decry. My government will act against these moves with all means available to us.”
“I think you’re referring to the so-called Leahy Law and our work under that,” Blinken told a reporter who asked about the upcoming sanctions. So, this is a very important law, and it’s one that we apply across the board. I think it’s fair to say that you’ll see results very soon.”
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said, “The decision to enact sanctions against the IDF while Israel is fighting for its exitance is crazy. We warned that the Biden administration’s sanctions against settlers will carry on to the IDF and the rest of the State of Israel. It’s part of a planned move to force Israel to agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state and to harm Israel’s security.”
The U.S. has moved in recent months against Israeli settlers in particular and placed economic sanctions against them as well.
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 מזכיר המדינה האמריקאי אנתוני בלינקן נפגש עם חברי קבינט המלחמה הישראלי בבסיס הקריה בתל אביב
 מזכיר המדינה האמריקאי אנתוני בלינקן נפגש עם חברי קבינט המלחמה הישראלי בבסיס הקריה בתל אביב
Antony Blinken and Benjamin Netanyahu
(Photo: David Azagury, US Embassy Jerusalem )
The Netzah Yehuda Battalion was linked with previous violent incidents in the West Bank in the past, including an investigation against some of its soldiers following the death of a Palestinian elderly man who was detained for questioning.
Israeli officials reacted to the news and said it is unclear if the report is accurate, added the Americans have demanded clarifications regarding the Netzah Yehuda Battalion’s activities in the past after claims they were harming Palestinians.
One estimate says that the issue may be related to the implementation of an American law that includes a series of regulations prohibiting the U.S. State Department and Defense Departments from providing military aid to countries that violate human rights.
In any case, even if sanctions are indeed imposed on the brigade, it’s unclear how they will affect the unit at this point.
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