Gallant speaks to IDF chief about preventing US sanctions on Netzah Yehuda, will soon speak to Blinken

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant spoke with IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi this evening on ways to prevent the United States’ planned sanctions on the army’s Netzah Yehuda Battalion, his office says.

“I expect the American administration to go back on its intention to impose sanctions on the Netzah Yehuda Battalion,” Gallant says in remarks published by the Defense Ministry, warning that the planned move will set a “dangerous” precedent.

Gallant also spoke with US Ambassador to Israel Jack Lew, and is due to speak with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken shortly, the ministry says.

Gallant instructed Israel’s defense establishment to “act at all echelons in order to make clear to the American government the importance of supporting IDF operations, which are carried out subject to international law,” the statement continues.

In additional remarks, Gallant says Netzah Yehuda, which has been deployed to Gaza recently following months on the northern border, is operating “in accordance with IDF values ​​and according to international law, and any event that deviates from the procedures is handled accordingly.”

“The commanders and troops of the Netzah Yehuda Battalion are operating at the front of the fighting, since the outbreak of the war, they have been working to drive away Hezbollah forces on the northern border, to thwart terror elements in Judea and Samaria, and these days are working to dismantle the Hamas brigades in the Gaza Strip, while risking their lives,” he says.

“Any attempt to vilify an entire unit casts a heavy shadow on the actions of the IDF to protect the citizens of Israel and thwart terror elements. Harm to one battalion is harm to the entire defense establishment, this is not the way to behave with partners and friends,” Gallant says.

Until late 2022, Netzah Yehuda had been stationed permanently in the West Bank, where it was at the center of several controversies connected to right-wing extremism and violence against Palestinians.

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