Investigative Report: Blinken did not take action to punish Israeli units that committed sexual violance in Palestine

The ProPublica website quoted US officials as saying that a US State Department committee recommended months ago that Secretary of State Anthony Blinken impose sanctions on Israeli military units that were credibly accused of human rights violations and committing acts of murder or rape, but he did not take any action.

The officials indicated that the incidents reviewed by the Foreign Affairs Committee occurred in the West Bank before the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) attack on Israel on October 7, and include reports of extrajudicial killings at the hands of Israeli border police, and an incident in which an Israeli battalion muzzled The mouth of an elderly Palestinian-American man, his being tied up and left to die, and the incident of investigators torturing and raping a teenager who was accused of throwing stones and Molotov cocktails.

They pointed out that recommendations to punish Israeli military units had reached Blinken since last December, but he had not taken any action, and they indicated that Blinken’s lack of action against the Israeli units undermined President Joe Biden’s public criticism of Israel. Another official said that the recommendations have been in Blinken's custody since then.

A State Department spokesperson told ProPublica that the committee takes its commitment to upholding human rights laws seriously. The spokesman added, "This process requires a careful and complete review, and is subject to a fact-specific investigation that applies the same standards and procedures regardless of the country concerned."

The revelation of Blinken's failure to act on the recommendations comes at a sensitive moment in US-Israeli relations after more than 6 months of war on the Gaza Strip. More recently, President Joe Biden has signaled growing frustration with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over high civilian casualties in the Strip.

Several US State Department officials said that Blinken's inaction undermined Biden's public criticism of Israel, and sent a message to Israelis that the US administration was not ready to take serious steps.

The recommendations came from a special committee of US State Department officials known as the Leahy Israel Audit Forum, which includes experts on the Middle East and human rights, and is named after former Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, who is behind two legal rulings passed by Congress in 1997 asking the United States to ban the provision of... Assist any foreign military or law enforcement units - from soldier battalions to police stations - credibly accused of gross human rights violations.

The British newspaper The Guardian reported earlier this year that the US State Department was reviewing several incidents, but did not impose sanctions because Israel received unusual special treatment from the US government.

Human rights organizations, UN agencies, independent journalists, and NGOs have produced numerous reports that found that Israel has committed serious crimes including torture, rape, executions, and sexual violence in Gaza and West Bank. US officials and Western media, on the other hand, embraced Israeli allegations of Hamas beheading 40 babies,  a fabricated story, and Israel rejected calls for independent investigation of such allegations and denied UN investigators access to documents and locations.


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