U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Israeli Settlers Involved in Attacks Against Palestinians


Washington – The U.S. State Department announced on Tuesday that it has imposed sanctions on several dozen Israeli settlers believed to be involved in attacks against Palestinians. The sanctions effectively ban these individuals from traveling to the United States.

The decision underscores the Biden administration’s concerns regarding the escalating violence perpetrated by Israeli settlers against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, as well as its belief that the Israeli government has not done enough to prevent such attacks.

The U.S. State Department also revealed that it has placed a travel ban on several dozen Palestinians suspected of engaging in attacks against Israelis. However, the names of these individuals have not been disclosed, according to two U.S. officials. This marks the first time since the Clinton administration that the U.S. has imposed sanctions on extremist settlers.

During a press briefing on Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken stated, “Immediate family members of such persons may also be subject to these restrictions.” He emphasized that the U.S. has consistently opposed actions that undermine stability in the West Bank, including attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinians and Palestinian attacks against Israelis.

Blinken further indicated that the U.S. has been urging the Israeli government to take stronger measures to hold extremist settlers accountable for their violent acts against Palestinians in the West Bank. He stressed that both Israel and the Palestinian Authority bear the responsibility to maintain stability in the region. The U.S. intends to continue engaging with Israeli leadership and the Palestinian Authority, urging them to do more to curb the attacks.

The Biden administration has been expressing its concerns about settler violence to the Israeli government privately and publicly for the past three years, according to U.S. officials. The recent spike in attacks by settlers against Palestinians following the Hamas attack on October 7 further raised alarm bells. In a Washington Post op-ed published two weeks ago, President Biden mentioned that the U.S. was preparing to impose a visa ban on extremist settlers involved in attacks against Palestinians.

Behind the scenes, President Biden sent a memo to several Cabinet secretaries a day before the op-ed was published, requesting them to prepare potential sanctions against individuals or entities that pose a threat to security or stability in the West Bank, intimidate civilians, or impede efforts to achieve a two-state solution, according to a U.S. official familiar with the memo. The decision to impose sanctions on Israeli settlers was made by the administration after concluding that the current Israeli government has not made serious efforts to prevent the attacks against Palestinians.

Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., Mike Herzog, reportedly provided the State Department and the White House with a document outlining the number of attacks and the Israeli government’s steps to address the issue. While the document claimed that the number of attacks had decreased in recent weeks, U.S. officials informed Herzog that it still remained higher than before October 7.

Secretary Blinken raised the issue of settler violence during his recent visit to Israel, discussing it with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. The sanctions imposed by the U.S. are intended to send a clear message to both Israeli and Palestinian authorities that more needs to be done to curb the violence and ensure stability in the West Bank.

The U.S. remains committed to its longstanding support for a two-state solution and will continue to work towards that goal in collaboration with Israeli and Palestinian leadership.

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