Thu. May 23rd, 2024

U.S. reviewing sanctions for IDF unit Netzah Yehuda, over West Bank human rights violations

By 37ci3 Apr26,2024

The Biden administration is considering whether to do so Limit aid to Israeli military battalions After establishing that it was one of three battalions credibly involved in gross human rights abuses against Palestinians occupied the West Bank before Hamas‘ October 7 attackAccording to the letter, obtained by NBC News.

Two of these IDF units will continue to receive U.S. military aid after Israeli government accountability measures, but whether a third IDF unit will face limits on U.S. military aid remains under review, the letter said.

Israeli officials fear the unprecedented move would cast a shadow over their military as a whole, overtly and covertly pressuring Washington not to impose restrictions on the unit. Protests have risen on American college campuses as the US criticizes its ally’s behavior in the Gaza Strip. Israel-Hamas war.

A 1997 law known as the “Leahy Act” limits US aid to any security forces unit of a foreign country if the unit is found to have committed “Gross Human Rights Violations,” but can be waived if the secretary of state determines that it is effective. Steps are being taken to hold responsible persons in the department accountable.

It is named after its primary sponsor, former Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who spent nearly half a century in the Senate.

The provisions of the Leahy Act, which have not yet been made public, were discussed by NBC News in a letter Secretary of State Anthony Blinken sent to Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., ahead of a vote on the additional aid bill for Israel.

The letter was first published by ABC News.

“I have determined that effective remediation has not been carried out to date for one IDF unit,” Blinken wrote. “This unit was recognized by the Israeli government as having acted against IDF regulations and as a result was transferred from the West Bank to the Golan Heights in 2022. section and we will work to identify a path to effective remediation for this section.”

A US official confirmed to NBC News that the unit is the West Bank-based Netzah Yehuda battalion of ultra-Orthodox Israeli soldiers that has been vetted by the State Department since 2022.

NBC News has reached out to the IDF for comment.

The U.S. is required to consult with Israel about actions under the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act, but if the government fails to take the appropriate accountability measures required under the Leahy Act, U.S. aid will still be restricted, according to a source familiar with the matter. He spoke to the process on condition of anonymity.

Two civilian units allegedly responsible for gross human rights abuses against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank were also under review, but will continue to be eligible for US security assistance once they are determined to have undergone effective reform.

IDF soldiers
The Israeli army’s campaign in Gaza has increasingly attracted international condemnation.Menahem Kahana/AFP via Getty Images

“This is a very important law and one that we apply across the board. And when we do these investigations, these inquiries, it’s a time-consuming thing that has to be done very carefully, both in fact-gathering and analysis — and that’s exactly what we did,” Blinken told reporters last week. “And I think it’s fair to say you’ll see the results soon. I made decisions; You can expect to see them soon.”

Israeli leaders condemned the expected move.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “I will fight against this with all my might” and called it “the height of absurdity and moral humiliation” for Israeli soldiers to fight against Hamas.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant also called Blinken and US Ambassador Jack Lew to stop the sanctions. “The attempt to criticize an entire unit casts a heavy shadow over the actions of the IDF as a whole,” Gallant said.

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By 37ci3

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