Photo Credit: State Department photo by Freddie Everett
Secretary of State Antony Blinken

The US will be imposing sanctions against the IDF’s Haredi Netzach Yehuda Battalion over claims of abuse against Palestinian Authority Arabs in Judea and Samaria, according to a report this weekend by Axios.

Several months ago a special State Department panel recommended that Secretary of State Antony Blinken ban American aid to multiple Israeli military and police units over allegations they committed serious human rights abuses, the ProPublica news outlet reported.


Blinken confirmed the report, according to YNet news, saying the decision has been made and sanctions will be applied in the coming days.

The panel told Blinken in December 2023 the US should restrict arms sales to Israeli military units that it alleged were credibly accused of human rights abuses that took place mostly before the October 7 invasion of Israel and massacre of more than 1,200 people by Hamas-led terrorists and their followers from Gaza. As yet, the Secretary has taken no action.

Speaking at a news conference on Friday (April 19) during the G7 Foreign Ministers gathering in Capri, Italy, Blinken said in response to a reporter asking about “Israel’s violations of human rights” that the US was investigating the allegations.

“I think you’re referring to the so-called Leahy Law and our work under that,” Blinken told the reporter.

“So, this is a very important law, and it’s one that we apply across the board. And when we’re doing these investigations, these inquiries, it’s something that takes time, that has to be done very carefully both in collecting the facts and analyzing them – and that’s exactly what we’ve done.”

Blinken added, “I think it’s fair to say that you’ll see results very soon. I’ve made determinations; you can expect to see them in the days ahead.”

The Leahy Laws or Leahy amendments are US human rights laws that prohibit the US Department of State and Department of Defense from providing military assistance to foreign security force units that violate human rights with impunity.

The law is named after its principal sponsor, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT).

Under the law, a unit must have been credibly implicated in a serious abuse of human rights in order for military assistance to be denied. The assistance can be restored but only after the host government takes effective steps to bring the responsible persons within the unit to justice.

If the ban is enacted, the unit will not receive US arms, and its soldiers will not be able to train with US forces or participate in US-funded activities.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich responded to the reports saying [translated], “A decision to impose American sanctions on the IDF while Israel is fighting for its existence is absolute madness. We warned that the Biden administration’s sanctions against the settlers will continue for the IDF and the entire State of Israel. This is part of a planned move to force the State of Israel to agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state and abandon Israel’s security.”

Minister Benny Gantz tweeted a statement [translated], “The ‘Netzah Yehuda’ battalion is an inseparable part of the Israel Defense Forces. It is subject to military law and is responsible for operating in full compliance with International law. The State of Israel has a strong, independent judicial system that evaluates meticulously any claim of a violation or deviation from IDF orders and code of conduct, and will continue to do so. I have great appreciation for our American friends, but the decision to impose sanctions on an IDF unit and its soldiers sets a dangerous precedent and conveys the wrong message to our shared enemies during war time. I intend on acting to have this decision changed.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu released a statement, yet despite his English being far better than Gantz’s, he released it only in Hebrew.

Which translates to:

“Sanctions must not be imposed on the Israel Defense Forces!
In recent weeks, I have been working against the imposition of sanctions on Israeli citizens, including in my conversations with senior American government officials.

At a time when our soldiers are fighting the monsters of terror, the intention to impose a sanction on a unit in the IDF is the height of absurdity and a moral low.

The government headed by me will act by all means against these moves.”


Previous articleIsrael Strikes Radar, Missile System Near to Natanz Nuclear Plant
Next articleBiden Admin Sanctions More Jewish Citizens and Charities in Israel
Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.