Israel PM denounces US plan to sanction IDF unit

Tel Aviv, April 21 (IANS): Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denounced the move by the US government to issue sanctions to the Netzah Yehuda battalion of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

The sanctions, according to reports, are for alleged human rights violations committed against Palestinians in the West Bank by the soldiers of this IDF battalion.

There are reports that the Biden administration is set to blacklist the battalion considered elite by the IDF.

Netanyahu, according to the media, in a statement on Saturday late night said, “ The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) must not be sanctioned.”

The Israeli Prime Minister further said, “Our soldiers are fighting terrorist monsters, and the intention to impose sanctions on an IDF unit is the height of absurdity and a moral nadir,”

He added, “The government of Israel that I lead will act with all means against these moves.”

The far-right ministers in the Israeli government, Itamar Ben Gvir, who is the National Security Minister, and Bezalel Smotrich also denounced the reported US move to blacklist the IDF battalion.

Ben Gvir in a statement said, “Imposing sanctions on our soldiers is a red line.”

The Minister further said that the reported move of the US was extremely serious and added, “The members of the Netzah Yehuda must be protected.”

He also called upon the Israeli Defence Minister, Yoav Gallant, considered a hawk in the Israeli government, not to submit before the US dictates.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich in a statement on social media platform, X, came out strongly against the US plans to impose sanctions on Netzah Yehuda, and said, “The move to sanction IDF battalion, while Israel is fighting for its existence is complete madness.”

“This is part of a planned move to force the State of Israel to agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state and to forsake Israel’s security,” he said.



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