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Business News/ News / World/  Israel-Gaza war: US imposes sanctions on Israeli settlers over violence in West Bank

Israel-Gaza war: US imposes sanctions on Israeli settlers over violence in West Bank

The State Department announces sanctions against four Israeli settlers as President Biden addresses the high levels of settler violence, forced displacement, and property destruction in the West Bank.

US President Joe Biden. (AFP)Premium
US President Joe Biden. (AFP)

The United States imposed sanctions on four Israeli settlers as President Joe Biden said violence against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank had reached intolerable levels.

In an executive order, Biden said, “The situation in the West Bank -- in particular high levels of extremist settler violence, forced displacement of people and villages, and property destruction -- has reached intolerable levels and constitutes a serious threat to the peace, security and stability." The State Department later announced sanctions against four settlers. Any assets they hold in the United States will be blocked, with Americans forbidden from financial transactions with them.

Also Read: Israel-Hamas War: Israeli soldiers dressed as medical professionals shoot 3 Palestinians in hospital

Who are the 4 Israeli settlers?

The four include David Chai Chasdai, who is charged with inciting a riot in the flashpoint village of Huwara that resulted in the burning of Palestinian homes and the death of a Palestinian civilian after an incident that claimed the lives of two Israelis, according to AFP.

The report further stated that Yinon Levi as one of the other targets who is charged with organising a group of settlers from Meitarim Farm's illegal outpost who had attacked Palestinian and Bedouin civilians, set fire to their farms, and damaged their belongings. Other two individuals are Einan Tanjil, Shalom Zicherman.  According to a State Department fact sheet, Tanjil "was involved in assaulting Palestinian farmers and Israeli activists by attacking them with stones and clubs, resulting in injuries that required medical treatment" while Zicherman “according to video evidence, assaulted Israeli activists and their vehicles in the West Bank, blocking them on the street, and attempted to break the windows of passing vehicles with activists inside."

The White House notified the Israeli government in advance of these plans, CNN reported, citing an official.

President Biden, who has condemned such violence in the past, discussed the issue with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in recent months. The executive order is expected to address settler violence specifically, a sensitive topic given Biden's backing of Israel in its conflict with Hamas in Gaza.

The move by Biden might represent a dramatic change in his stance toward Israel and could be interpreted as a response to concerns from Muslim and Arab-American voters upset with his refusal to call for a ceasefire in the Gaza conflict.

Meanwhile, settler violence in the West Bank has been a longstanding issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, escalating fears of revenge attacks and contributing to the recent deaths of Indian students in the US. An estimated 700,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank. It's unclear which specific acts those targeted by Biden's executive order participated in, according to CNN.

Biden has raised the issue of settler violence in "almost every diplomatic conversation he has with Israeli leaders," a senior administration official said. "These actions pose a grave threat to peace, security and stability in the West Bank, Israel, and the Middle East region, and they also obstruct the realization, ultimately, of an independent Palestinian state existing side by side with Israel, and by extension the enduring peace and stability for Palestinians and Israelis alike," the official added as reported by ANI.

(With inputs from ANI, AFP)

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Published: 02 Feb 2024, 06:35 AM IST
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