Washington, D.C. – President Biden issued an executive order targeting Israeli settlers in the West Bank who have been attacking Palestinians in the occupied territory. The order is a significant step by the U.S. to address the ongoing violence and threatens financial sanctions against those involved in violent assaults.
The executive order names four individuals and aims to lay the groundwork for freezing assets and bank accounts of settlers involved in violent attacks. This action comes in response to increased violence following a conflict between Hamas and Israel, which escalated into a full-scale war in Gaza three months ago. The order, however, does not target U.S. citizens who are part of the settler community.
According to White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, the violence posed by settlers in the West Bank poses a significant threat to peace, security, and stability in the region and undermines the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States.
The order marks the first time the U.S. has targeted Israeli settlers with the threat of financial sanctions, signaling a shift in the American approach to settler attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank. Since the start of the conflict between Israel and Hamas, the United Nations has reported nearly 500 attacks by settlers on Palestinians in the West Bank, many of which have resulted in fatalities and extensive property damage.
The announcement of the executive order has drawn various reactions, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stating that Israel acts against all those who break the law, with no room for exceptional measures. However, some Israeli experts in settler violence have welcomed the news, emphasizing the need for accountability in addressing attacks on Palestinians.
The executive order represents a significant development in U.S. policy towards settler violence in the West Bank and reflects a growing international concern over the ongoing conflict between Israeli settlers and Palestinians in the region.