U.S. gives free pass to Israeli military units accused of horrific war crimes
04/30/2024 // Richard Brown // Views

The Biden administration has opted not to impose sanctions on Israeli army units accused of human rights violations against Palestinians.

ABC News revealed on April 26 that a government assessment identified three Israeli army battalions responsible for "gross human rights violations" in the occupied West Bank.

However, these units will continue to receive U.S. military aid due to steps Israel claims to be taking to address the issues. Secretary of State Antony Blinken outlined this assessment in a letter to House Speaker Mike Johnson, obtained by ABC News.

The violations, which occurred before October 7, include instances of Palestinians being executed by Israeli border police, as well as reports of torture and rape during interrogation, all within the occupied West Bank. Notably, these violations are distinct from Israel's recent conflict in Gaza. (Related: War on Gaza: Israeli ‘massacre’ kills over 100 Palestinians seeking food in Gaza City.)

Despite the findings, the Biden administration's decision is likely to disappoint critics who argue that the U.S. has not held Israel accountable for war crimes. Under the Leahy Law, the U.S. is obligated to withhold military aid from states engaged in severe human rights abuses, with exceptions granted if measures are taken to address the issues.

An informed source disclosed to ABC News that the U.S. and Israel have a "special agreement" requiring consultation with Tel Aviv regarding foreign assistance decisions. Blinken's letter indicated that four Israeli army units have undergone "remediation" steps, internally holding those responsible for the violations accountable.

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Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition figures Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid, lobbied against the imposition of sanctions, with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant pledging to take action.

Reports suggest that Israeli pressure played a role in shaping the decision, with efforts to dissuade the U.S. from imposing sanctions. Additionally, Blinken reportedly disregarded recommendations from a State Department panel to sanction certain Israeli police and army units.

This development underscores longstanding concerns about U.S. mechanisms shielding Israel from accountability under human rights laws, as highlighted in previous reports by the Guardian and ProPublica.

Netanyahu vows to oppose potential sanctions against IDF

Earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to vehemently oppose any potential sanctions against the country's military, particularly targeting a specific unit, following reports suggesting the U.S. may reduce aid to that unit.

"I will fight it with all my strength," declared the prime minister on April 21.

When questioned last week about potential cuts to U.S. military aid linked to alleged human rights abuses by certain Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) units in the occupied West Bank, Blinken hinted at forthcoming decisions, stating, "I've made determinations; you can expect to see them in the days ahead."

Historically, the U.S. has not suspended aid to any IDF units.

In response to the reports, the Israeli military emphasized that the Netzah Yehuda battalion operates within the bounds of international law.

"Following reports about sanctions against the battalion, the IDF is not aware of any such measures," stated the Israeli military. "The IDF diligently investigates any exceptional incidents in a practical and legal manner."

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant urged the U.S. to reconsider any plans to sanction Netzah Yehuda, expressing concern about the impact on the IDF's reputation. "Criticism of an entire unit casts a dark shadow over the IDF's actions," Gallant's statement read, emphasizing the importance of maintaining strong ties between the U.S. and Israel.

All alleged violations occurred before the Hamas attack on Israel from Gaza on October 7.

Recently, the State Department imposed sanctions on Israeli far-right activist Ben Zion Gopstein and his organization Lehava, citing involvement in destabilizing violence in the West Bank.

Watch this report about Gen. David Perkins saying the America's continued support of Israel is important.

This video from the NewsClips channel on Brighteon.com.

More related stories:

War on Gaza: Israeli commander behind aid worker killings had demanded 'siege' of Gaza.

The people of Gaza are being deliberately starved.

VIDEO: Israeli soldiers shoot starving Palestinians collecting aid in Gaza.

Sources include:




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