Netzah Yehuda: The Israeli Military Unit The US May Sanction

(MENAFN- Asia Times) The US and Israel have been involved in intense discussions recently about whether Washington will sanction a unit of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) after reports of a string of human rights violations committed against Palestinian civilians in the West bank before the Gaza conflict began in October.

Netzah Yehuda is an ultra-Orthodox division of the IDF that was established as a way of encouraging Haredi Jews, currently exempted from military service, into the Israeli armed forces. It was reported on April 20 that the Biden administration was considering sanctioning the unit under the “Leahy Law.”

This 1997 law prohibits the US government from providing funds to units of foreign security forces where there is credible information implicating that unit in“gross violations of human rights.”

But following a series of exchanges between the US and Israeli governments, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said :“The Israeli government has presented new information regarding the status of the unit and we will engage on identifying a path to effective remediation for this unit.”

The Netzah Yehuda battalion has been mired in misconduct controversies since long before the outbreak of the current hostilities with Hamas. But one incident from 2022 has particularly rankled with Washington as it involved a Palestinian-American former resident of Milwaukee. Omar Assad, 80, died after being forcibly detained and left outside overnight on a construction site near a makeshift IDF checkpoint in his West Bank hometown of Jiljilya.

Assad, who is reported to have been gagged and bound when detained, was allegedly unresponsive when left by the IDF soldiers. He was found dead the following morning. A subsequent Palestinian autopsy found that Assad, who had a history of heart problems, had suffered cardiac arrest caused by stress.


Asia Times

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