West Bank News: Israeli Raids & Anticipated U.S. Sanctions

Israeli Raid on Nour Shams Refugee Camp

  • On April 21, Palestinians across the West Bank went on a general strike in protest of the Israeli Defense Forces’ (IDF) raid on the Nour Shams refugee camp adjacent to the West Bank city of Tulkarem. 
  • The 50-hour raid concluded on April 20 and was “likened by Palestinians to the intensity of Second Intifada attacks.”
  • The clashes in Nour Shams were part of a wider surge in violence in the West Bank; for example, there were at least five active Israeli raids on April 21. 
    • On April 20, a Palestinian ambulance driver was killed by Israeli gunfire outside Nablus. 
    • On April 21, two Palestinians were killed during an Israeli raid in Hebron and another at a checkpoint in the northern West Bank. 
    • On April 23, a Palestinian man was killed in an Israeli raid in Jericho. 
  • Since the outbreak of the Gaza War, at least 482 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank by Israeli forces or settlers. 
    • Israel has said its increased raids in the West Bank since October 7 aim to combat rising militant activity and prevent attacks. 

Anticipated U.S. Sanctions against IDF Unit

  • U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to announce sanctions against the IDF’s “Netzah Yehuda” battalion for human rights violations in the West Bank.
  • These alleged violations occurred prior to October 7; however, this would ban the battalion and its members from receiving U.S. military assistance or training.
    • This would mark the first-ever U.S. sanctions on an Israeli military unit. 
  • The anticipated sanctions would fall under the Leahy Law, which prohibits U.S. aid or training to be sent to foreign military units with credible accusations of human rights violations. 
    • The U.S. began examining allegations against Netzah Yehuda in 2022, after its involvement in the death of 78-year-old Palestinian-American Omar Assad.
    • Months ago, a State Department panel recommended multiple Israeli military and police units in the West Bank be disqualified from receiving U.S. aid after reviewing allegations of human rights abuses. 
  • Netzah Yehuda is one of the four battalions that comprises the Kfir infantry brigade.
    • It is an all-male unit consisting of roughly 1,000 troops. 
    • It has been a destination for adherents of the Hilltop Youth settler movement, who are often turned away from other IDF units. The Hilltop Youth movement is historically known for establishing informal settlements in the West Bank without government approval with the goal of gaining complete Israeli control over the West Bank. 
  • On April 21, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would fight the anticipated sanctions “with all my strength.”
    • Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant asked Blinken to abandon the planned sanctions in separate talks on April 21.
    • On April 22, Blinken said there is no “double standard” for Israel regarding the sanctions. 



(Banner image: Michael Loadenthal)

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