On Thursday, President Joe Biden issued an executive order targeting extremist WestBank Israeli settlers in the West Bank for their actions against Palestinians in the occupied territory, imposing financial sanctions and visa bans in an initial round against four individuals.
In a White House statement, Biden said the violence has forced the displacement of people and villages and has destroyed property: “[the violence] has reached intolerable levels and constitutes a serious threat to the peace, security and stability of the West Bank and Gaza, Israel and the broader Middle East region. These actions undermine the foreign policy objectives of the United States, including the viability of a two-state solution and ensuring Israelis Palestinians can attain equal measures of security, prosperity and freedom.” Biden added that the actions of extremist settlers undermine Israel’s security because of its potential to destabilize the region while threatening U.S. personnel and interests: “for these reasons, these actions constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”
The order authorizes sanctions against those involved inin the West Bank, as well as threats and attempts to destroy or seize Palestinian property. The penalties block them from using the U.S. financial system and bar American citizens from dealing with them. The State Department identified the four individuals hit with sanctions as Israeli settlers who have attacked Palestinians in the past..
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said that Biden’s executive order allows the Treasury to level financial sanctions against those participating in violence against peaceful civilians in the West Bank: “today’s actions seek to promote peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”
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