Ben Gvir says sanctioning IDF troops ‘a red line’; Smotrich: ‘Complete madness’

Sam Sokol is the Times of Israel's political correspondent. He was previously a reporter for the Jerusalem Post, Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Haaretz. He is the author of "Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews"

Religious Zionist party leader MK Bezalel Smotrich (right) with Otzma Yehudit party leader MK Itamar Ben Gvir in the Knesset plenum, December 28, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Religious Zionist party leader MK Bezalel Smotrich (right) with Otzma Yehudit party leader MK Itamar Ben Gvir in the Knesset plenum, December 28, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir says that imposing “sanctions on our soldiers is a red line,” after a report says the Biden administration is slated to announce sanctions against the IDF’s Netzah Yehuda battalion.

The sanctions are reportedly a response to alleged human rights abuses committed against Palestinians in the West Bank by the unit’s members.

Describing the report as “extremely serious,” Ben Gvir states that he “expects Defense Minister Yoav Gallant not to submit to American dictates” and that the members of Netzah Yehuda “must be fully supported.”

“If there is not anybody at the Defense Ministry who will back up the battalion as required, I will ask to absorb them into the Israel Police and the Ministry of National Security,” continues Ben Gvir, who states that he would be willing to integrate it into the Border Police.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich says that the imposition of the sanctions “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,” Smotrich charges in a post on X.

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