Netanyahu not happy with expected Biden regime sanctioning of IDF battalion

The White House’s continued undermining of Israel’s counteroffensive marked a new low with expected sanctions stemming from a questionably connected non-profit.

Months after a State Department panel recommended Secretary of State Antony Blinken act on Israeli military and police units accused of human rights violations, the Biden administration official chose the week after an attempted Iranian attack to hamstring an American ally.

Speaking at a press conference in Italy on Friday, Blinken reacted to a report from ProPublica that the Orthodox Jewish Netzah Yehuda battalion of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) faced potential sanctions based on the 1997 Leahy Law; the first time such an action would be used against an Israel military unit.

The secretary said it was “fair to say that you’ll see results very soon. I’ve made determinations; you can expect to see them in the days ahead.”

According to the report, an investigation had begun in 2022 alleging that the battalion had committed violence against civilians in Judea and Samaria before they were moved to Gaza for operations there. The Leahy Law, so-called after former Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy (D) had authored the legislation, prohibited human rights violators from receiving U.S. foreign aid or benefiting from Defense Department training.

Reacting to the announcement, after President Joe Biden had already signaled America would not be backing Israel in countering Iran’s attack, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement Sunday asserting, “If anyone thinks they can impose sanctions on a unit of the IDF, I will fight it with all my strength.”

While the battalion faced scrutiny over the death of 78-year-old Omar Assad, a man described by the Associated Press as a “Palestinian-American man” who had been detained by Netzah Yehuda who “had suffered a heart attack caused by ‘external violence,'” the drive to sanction them was reportedly linked to a terrorist organization-linked non-profit, Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN.)

According to the pro-Israel non-profit NGO Monitor, the push for sanctions came from DAWN which has been connected to both the Muslim Brotherhood and dark money financier George Soros’ Open Society Foundation.

On X, NGO Monitor posted, “The reported sanctions against the IDF’s Netzah Yehuda Battalion by the @StateDept is the result of a coordinated campaign by DAWN and other extreme political NGOs. DAWN has an extensive list of targets and won’t stop after an IDF unit or few individuals.”

“DAWN is a US-based tax-exempt organization that has intensified its legal attacks against Israeli officials since October 7. DAWN has officials connected to the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as to the most notorious antisemitic and anti-Israel groups,” they continued.

Nationally syndicated radio host Mark Levin sounded off on the ties as well and wrote, “Radical anti-Israel group being used by Blinken to sanction an IDF unit. Who this traitor Blinken think he is sabotaging Israel daily while funding the terrorists? When will the Republicans drag his a** before Congress and hold him to account for the human destruction he has caused and is causing?”

Meanwhile, Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant defended the record of the battalion and issued his own call for the Biden administration to reconsider.

“The battalion’s activities are carried out in accordance with the values of the IDF and in accordance with international law,” he had said in a statement that argued,  “…any event that deviates from the aforementioned standards is addressed accordingly.”

“Any attempt to criticize an entire unit casts a heavy shadow on the actions of the IDF, which operates to protect the citizens of Israel. Damage to one battalion, affects the entire defense establishment — this is not the right path for partners and friends,” added Gallant. “I call on the U.S. Administration to withdraw its intention to impose sanctions on the Netzah Yehuda battalion.”

Kevin Haggerty

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