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Potential US Sanctions on IDF ‘Absurd’ – Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has strongly criticized the rumored plans by the United States to impose sanctions on an Israeli military unit predominantly comprising ultra-Orthodox Jews. The unit, known as the Netzah Yehuda Battalion, is currently under scrutiny for alleged human rights violations against Palestinians.

Netanyahu's Rebuke

In a recent post on social media platform X (formerly Twitter), Netanyahu denounced the notion of sanctioning the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and expressed his disapproval of the potential decision. He emphasized that he has been actively engaging with US officials to oppose any such measures. Netanyahu labeled the idea of sanctioning the IDF, especially at a time when it is combating terrorism, as "absurd" and "morally reprehensible." He further pledged that his government would take every possible action to counteract these proposed sanctions.

Blinken's Statement

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to address concerns surrounding Israeli human rights violations, particularly those allegedly perpetrated by the Netzah Yehuda Battalion, in the coming days. During a press conference in Italy, Blinken assured journalists that decisive actions would be taken soon. He reiterated the US commitment to enforcing the Leahy Law, a legislation that prohibits military assistance to foreign entities involved in human rights abuses. Blinken emphasized that the US government has been meticulously evaluating the situation and will announce its determinations imminently.

Basis for Sanctions

Reports suggest that the decision to impose sanctions on the Netzah Yehuda Battalion stems from incidents predating the Hamas attack on southern Israel on October 7. One such incident that garnered attention involved the death of 78-year-old Omar Assad in 2022. Assad was allegedly detained by soldiers from the battalion, subjected to mistreatment, and subsequently died from cardiac arrest due to the psychological stress induced by the ordeal. These incidents, coupled with ongoing investigations, have prompted calls for punitive measures against the unit.

Potential Ramifications

If the proposed sanctions are enacted, the Netzah Yehuda Battalion would face severe restrictions, including a ban on receiving US training and material assistance. This could significantly impact the unit's operational capabilities and military effectiveness. Moreover, it underscores the growing international scrutiny of Israel's actions in the occupied territories and raises questions about the broader implications for US-Israel relations.


The prospect of US sanctions on the IDF has ignited a contentious debate, with proponents citing accountability for human rights violations and critics condemning what they perceive as undue interference in Israel's internal affairs. As the Biden administration prepares to unveil its decision, tensions between Washington and Tel Aviv are likely to escalate, underscoring the complex geopolitical dynamics at play in the Middle East.

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