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Business News/ News / World/  What is the Netzah Yehuda battalion? 5 things about Israel's military unit facing possible US sanctions
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What is the Netzah Yehuda battalion? 5 things about Israel's military unit facing possible US sanctions

The possible sanctions against Netzah Yehuda battalion is expected to escalate the brewing tensions between the US and Israel over the humanitarian crises in Palestine

Israeli soldiers sit as they operate near what the military described as a Hamas command tunnel running partly under UNRWA headquarters (REUTERS)Premium
Israeli soldiers sit as they operate near what the military described as a Hamas command tunnel running partly under UNRWA headquarters (REUTERS)

A day after 14 Palestinians were killed during raids in the occupied West Bank, the United States has indicated that it is planning to impose sanctions against the Netzah Yehuda battalion of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). 

The move is expected to escalate the brewing tensions between the US and Israel over the humanitarian crises in Palestine.

Financial Times reported that the Joe Biden administration is planning to blacklist Netzah Yehuda for alleged human rights violations by its soldiers primarily in the occupied West Bank region.

5 things about Netzah Yehuda

1. Netzah Yehuda is a battalion of Israel Defence Forces (IDF) which was established in 1999 to accommodate the religious beliefs of ultra-Orthodox Jews and other religious nationalist recruits in the army, according to a Reuters report.

2. The battalion is historically stationed in the occupied West Bank region and faces intense scrutiny for allegedly committing human rights violations against Palestinians. 

3. It was established to facilitate military service for these communities, accommodating their religious observances by scheduling prayer and study times, and restricting their interactions with female soldiers.

4. Netzah Yehuda came on the radar of United States agencies after the death of an elderly Palestinian-American man, who was detained by the battalion.

5. In many recent instances of mistreatment of Palestinians, the name of Netzah Yehuda has cropped up with its soldiers accused and charged with killing or assaulting Palestinians.

Israel calls it 'height of absurdity'

Israel maintains that Netzah Yehuda serves as an active combat unit and works within the legal standards. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacted to the possible US sanctions and called it the “height of absurdity and a moral nadir."

"The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) must not be sanctioned. 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 ( the lowest point)," Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement. “If anyone thinks they can impose sanctions on a unit in the IDF, I will fight it with all my might," the statement added.

The other ministers in the Netanyahu cabinet also condemned the possible US sanctions against Netzah Yehuda with Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich calling it “complete madness".

“The move to sanction the 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," the minister said in a post on X.

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Published: 22 Apr 2024, 03:40 PM IST
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