TEL AVIV (Agencies): Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior members of his war cabinet have criticized the US for considering imposing sanctions on a unit of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), the Netzah Yehuda battalion. They have called it a “dangerous precedent” that “crosses a red line” and conveys “the wrong message.”

The Joe Biden administration is reportedly planning to announce sanctions against the IDF’s Netzah Yehuda battalion for alleged human rights abuses against Palestinians in the West Bank. If implemented, it would be the first time the US has ever taken such a step.

The Netzah Yehuda battalion has been at the center of several controversies in the past, notably including the 2022 death of Omar As’ad, a 78-year-old Palestinian-American who died after being detained, handcuffed, blindfolded, and later abandoned in near-freezing conditions by soldiers of the battalion. The battalion is currently deployed to the Gaza Strip amid the ongoing war against Hamas.

The reported US plan drew a scathing response from Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “The IDF must not be sanctioned!” he wrote. “I have been working in recent weeks against the sanctioning of Israeli citizens, including in my conversations with the American administration. At a time when our soldiers are fighting terrorist monsters, the intention to issue sanctions against a unit in the IDF is the height of absurdity and a moral low,” he added.

This development marks a significant shift in US-Israel relations and could have far-reaching implications for the region. Stay tuned for more updates as they become available.

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