Joe Biden Issues Order Imposing Sanctions on Israeli Settlers Who Attack Palestinians in West Bank

By Jace Dela Cruz

Feb 02, 2024 05:13 AM EST

President Joe Biden issued an executive order on Thursday targeting Israeli settlers in the West Bank engaged in attacking Palestinians in the occupied territory.

According to NPR, the order named four individuals and will lay the foundation for potential financial sanctions against settlers who will conduct such violent assaults.

The move comes amid a surge in violence in the West Bank. Violent assaults have started to increase since Hamas launched an attack on Israel in October that set off a full-scale war in Gaza.

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(Photo : Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 06: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers a statement urging Congress to pass his national security supplemental from the Roosevelt Room at the White House on December 06, 2023 in Washington, DC.

US Settlers in the West Bank Not Target of EO

The executive order does not extend to US citizens, who comprise a significant portion of the settler community. The US has already issued an order last year implementing travel bans on Israeli settlers involved in attacking Palestinians.

The latest executive order marks the first time that the US has targeted Israeli settlers with a warning of frozen assets and bank accounts. The move is reportedly an attempt to curb settler attacks on Palestinians living in the West Bank.

Palestinians envision the West Bank, which is largely under Israeli military occupation, as the main core of a future Palestinian state.

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Joe Biden Shows Support for Israel 

The United Nations said nearly 500 attacks by settlers on Palestinians in the West Bank have been reported since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

While settlers attacked property and torched cars, some Palestinians have reportedly been killed in these attacks, according to the Palestinian authorities and human rights groups.

In a statement, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said: "This violence poses a grave threat to peace, security, and stability in the West Bank, Israel, and the Middle East region, and threatens the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States."

"This E.O. will allow the United States to issue financial sanctions against those directing or participating in certain actions, including acts or threats of violence against civilians, intimidating civilians to cause them to leave their homes, destroying or seizing property, or engaging in terrorist activity in the West Bank," he added.

Joe Biden has consistently expressed support for Israel's military response. While he pushed Israel to protect Palestinian civilians better, Biden has refused to advocate for a ceasefire despite numerous countries urging him to halt the war.

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