U.S. says five Israeli military units committed human rights abuses before war

U.S. says five Israeli military units committed human rights abuses before war

The United States said Monday that it has determined five Israeli military units committed human rights abuses prior to the start of the Israel-Hamas war. Photo by Jim Hollander/UPI | License Photo

April 30 (UPI) — The United States has determined that five Israeli military units have committed gross violations of human rights long before the start of the Israel-Hamas war, the State Department said.

“We have found five Israeli units responsible for individual incidents of gross violations of human rights,” State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said Monday during a press conference.

Four the units have “effectively remediated these violations,” he said, without elaborating on the violations or the specific remediations.

For the final unit, which has been identified as the Netzah Yehuda, the United States is in contact with Israel, which Patel said has submitted additional information on the group to the United States.

All human rights violations committed by the military units occurred prior to the Oct. 7 start of the Israel-Hamas war and none occurred in Gaza, he said.

The announcement comes after Secretary of State Antony Blinken last said in a letter to House Speaker Mike Johnson that three Israeli military battalions of the Israel Defense Force had committed gross human rights violations against Palestinians in the West Bank.

Early last week amid expectations that the determinations would be announced and potential sanctions leveled at the units responsible for committing human rights abuses, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said the punitive measures must not be imposed.

“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,” he said on X.

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

He added that he has been working for weeks to prevent the sanctions from being implemented.

Patel on Monday disregarded accusations that the United States was giving preferential treatment to Israel, stating a process is ongoing to see if Israel violated U.S. law, specifically the Leahy Laws.

According to the U.S. Congressional Research Service, the Leahy laws prohibit U.S. assistance to foreign security force units where there is credible information that they have committed gross human rights violations.

“There is no such thing as special treatment or double standards here,” Patel said. “The standards of the Leahy Law are applied consistently to all countries.”  » …
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