Possible US Sanctions on Netzah Yehuda Battalion of Israel
April 22, 2024

Why in News? US, for the first time, can impose sanctions on Netzah Yehuda Battalion of Israeli Defence Forces (IDF).

What is the Netzah Yehuda Battalion? It is an all-men battalion of IDF established in 1999 for ultra-orthodox Jews and other religious nationalist recruits from west-bank settler movement. It accommodates their religious observances by scheduling prayer and study times and restricts their interactions with female soldiers.

Why is US imposing Sanctions on Netzah Yehuda? Netzah Yehuda came on the radar of United States agencies after the death of an elderly Palestinian-American man in detention. They have also been charged of killing or assaulting Palestinians (nearly 500 Palestinians have been killed since Israel-Hamas war started). Human rights organizations have long accused the IDF justice system of whitewashing Netzah Yehuda’s wrongdoing, and the military of acting with impunity.

What Sanctions can be Imposed? The battalion and its members will be banned from receiving US Army assistance or training under the Leahy Law, framed in 1997 by US senator Patrick Leahy which prohibits American foreign aid and its defence training programs to cater to foreign security, military and police units- who face credible allegations of human right violations.

What Did Israel React? Israel maintains that Netzah Yehuda serves as an active combat unit and works within the legal standards. The sanctions have left Israel Prime Minister fuming who said that there should be no sanctions as its soldiers are fighting terrorist monsters, and the intention to impose sanctions on an IDF unit is the height of absurdity and a moral nadir (lowest point) and that the sanctions are a part of plan to force Israel to allow the establishment of Palestinian state and to forsake Israel's security.