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Israel-Gaza War: US sanctions Israeli group Tsav 9: Who are they and why are they targeted?

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The United States has imposed sanctions on Tsav 9, a far-right Israeli group, for obstructing humanitarian aid convoys to Gaza. These sanctions, issued under an executive order by President Joe Biden, target violence and instability in the West Bank. Let’s delve deeper into the reasons behind these sanctions and their implications.

Who are the Tsav 9?

Tsav 9, deriving its name from the emergency call-up order “Tzav-8” for Israeli military reservists, emerged in January. It comprises Israeli settlers, army reservists, and families affected by Hamas’s October 7 attacks. The group vehemently opposes humanitarian aid to Gaza, alleging that it aids Hamas.

Since its inception, Tsav 9 has engaged in various violent activities aimed at disrupting aid shipments. These actions include blockading roads, vandalizing trucks, and attacking convoys at the Kerem Shalom crossing. These attacks have not only led to injuries among drivers and Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers but have also worsened the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

International and Domestic Responses

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan has condemned the attacks as “utterly unacceptable.” Aaron Forsberg from the State Department reiterated the US’s commitment to holding perpetrators accountable through sanctions. However, within Israel, there is a mixed response, with some supporting Tsav 9’s actions despite international condemnation.

Matthew Miller, a spokesperson for the US State Department, highlighted the groupโ€™s disruptive actions: โ€œFor months, individuals from Tsav-9 have repeatedly sought to thwart the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza, including by blockading roads, sometimes violently. They also have damaged aid trucks and dumped life-saving humanitarian aid on the road.โ€

Support from Certain Segments

Tsav-9 garners support from specific segments of Israeli society, particularly among far-right groups and activists. Some Israeli families, who have experienced losses due to Hamas or have had members abducted by the group, endorse Tsav-9’s stance. However, this support sharply contrasts with condemnation from other Israelis who believe the group’s actions worsen the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Criticism of Israeli Authorities

Despite the violent nature of Tsav-9’s activities, Israeli military and police forces have faced criticism for not intervening to stop the group. Reports and videos have surfaced showing Israeli security forces standing by as Tsav-9 activists attacked aid trucks. Furthermore, although Israel arrested four individuals involved in the May 13 attack, including a minor, no indictments have been filed against them.

Impact and Significance of American Sanctions

The American sanctions against Tsav-9 represent a significant intensification of international efforts to curb settler and extremist violence in the West Bank. These sanctions, part of a broader executive order by President Joe Biden, aim to penalize actions that threaten peace, security, or stability in the region.

Financial Isolation and Message Against Obstruction
The sanctions freeze any assets Tsav-9 holds under US jurisdiction and prohibit Americans from engaging in transactions with the group. This move is expected to isolate Tsav-9 financially and sends a strong message against obstructing humanitarian efforts.

Deterrence and Accountability

These sanctions have broader implications, potentially deterring similar extremist activities. They signal that the international community will not tolerate actions that exacerbate humanitarian crises. Additionally, they highlight the need for accountability within Israel, urging the government and security forces to take stronger measures against groups like Tsav-9.

The sanctions on Tsav 9 represent a critical step by the US towards supporting humanitarian aid efforts and addressing extremist violence. By targeting Tsav 9, the US aims to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and promote stability in the region. This action underscores the importance of accountability and the need for all stakeholders to work towards a peaceful resolution in the region.

(With inputs from agencies)

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