February 1 - Biden sanctions 4 people for Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians in occupied West Bank


Feb 1, 2024. Posted by  Balkan Periscope - Hellas

On Thursday, President Joe Biden of the United States signed a fresh executive order, approving sanctions against Israeli settlers engaged in attacks against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. Additionally, the order includes the blacklisting of four individuals involved in such actions.


US President Joe Biden signed a new executive order Thursday authorizing sanctions against Israeli settlers who have been attacking Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, blacklisting four individuals in an initial round of penalties.


The actions come as settler violence targeting Palestinians across the West Bank has escalated dramatically, hitting record levels amid Israel's war on the besieged Gaza Strip. The stark increase in killings, intimidation and displacement prompted growing pressure from some of Biden's most vocal Democratic allies to take action.


The authorities being rolled out bar the individuals from accessing the US financial system, freezing any property already subject to US jurisdiction, and bans them from US entry, two senior Biden administration officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said. US nationals are also generally prohibited from doing business with them.


The State Department identified them as David Chai Chasdai, Einan Tanjil, Shalom Zicherman and Yinon Levi.


Chasdai is being sanctioned for leading a riot in the Palestinian town of Huwara that resulted in widespread property damage, and assaults on Palestinian civilians that led to the death of one individual. Tanjil is alleged to have been involved in assaults on Palestinian farmers and Israeli activists the resulted in injuries to the victims.


Video evidence indicates Zicherman assaulted Israeli activists, and attempted to break their vehicles' windows as they were passing through the West Bank, the State Department. He then cornered two of the activists and injured them.


Levi is accused of regularly leading settlers on attacks that create an "atmosphere of fear" intended to intimidate Palestinian communities into leaving their homes.


National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the 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."


"Today's actions seek to promote peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians alike," he said in a statement.


Sullivan directed Cabinet officials to policy options for perpetrators of the violence, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced in December visa sanctions against those determined to have been committing acts of violence. The new authorities go a step further to include financial measures.


Following the announcement of the new sanctions, Blinken said Israel "must do more to stop violence against civilians in the West Bank and hold accountable those responsible for it."


"The United States will continue to take actions to advance the foreign policy objectives of the United States, including the viability of a two-state solution, and is committed to the safety, security, and dignity of Israelis and Palestinians alike," he said in a statement.


One of the officials confirmed that the Biden administration has notified senior Israeli officials about the actions. He denied reports that the US is considering sanctions for Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich or National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir-two firebrand far-right politicians who have been at the forefront of the settler movement.


"That is not something that is currently under contemplation," he said.


Israeli settlers carried out roughly 2,410 attacks against Palestinians and their properties in the West Bank in 2023, according to official Palestinian government data. Multiple attacks were reported on Monday alone. Many of the attacks that have transpired were conducted as Israeli forces looked on.


Israeli arrests across the West Bank have also soared to 6,460 since Oct. 7 when Hamas staged a cross-border attack from Gaza that killed an estimated 1,200 people.


A combined 355 Palestinians have been killed and nearly 4,000 others injured in settler attacks and Israeli raids in the West Bank since the outbreak of the conflict in the Gaza Strip on Oct. 7, according to figures released by the Health Ministry.