The bill is being promoted by US Senator Patrick Leahy, who wants to see funding withheld from the three units, one of which was involved in the deadly raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla in 2010, which left nine Turkish nationals dead.

Quoting a senior Israeli source, the paper said that both Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak and the Israeli embassy in Washington had been trying to convince Leahy, a senior Democrat, against promoting the legislation, which would put restrictions on military assistance to Israel.

The bill mentions the navy's Shayetet 13, the unit which was involved in last year's flotilla raid, the undercover Duvdevan unit and the air force's Shaldag unit, alleging that all three have been involved in human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The Israeli source said the bill proposes that military aid to Israel be subjected to the same restrictions that apply to countries like Egypt, Pakistan and Jordan.

During a visit to Washington at the end of July, Barak met Leahy, whom he has known for years, and tried to talk him out of promoting the bill, after the Israeli embassy there had unsuccessfully done the same, Haaretz said.

Since 2007, US military aid to Israel has amounted to almost $3 billion (2.1 billion euros) per year, which is entirely devoted to the purchase of American weapons as part of a 10-year agreement.