US hints at sanctioning Israeli unit over alleged abuses

Although the allegations precede the Hamas attacks and Israel’s retaliatory war in Gaza, the suggestion of any sanctions against Israeli forces drew an angry response from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“In recent weeks, I have been working against the imposition of sanctions on Israeli citizens, including in my conversations with senior American government officials,” he posted late Saturday on social media platform X.

“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.”

The Axios website, citing three US sources with knowledge of the matter, reported Saturday that Blinken was expected to announce sanctions against the battalion “within days.”

It said the sanctions would ban the unit from receiving any US military aid or training.

An earlier report from ProPublica said a special State Department panel had recommended in December that Blinken disqualify several military and police units serving in the West Bank from receiving any US aid.

The latest developments came even as the US House of Representatives on Saturday overwhelmingly approved a bill to provide $26 billion in new emergency aid to Israel. 

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