Sun. Mar 3rd, 2024
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President Joe Biden has signed an executive order addressing the issue of violent Israeli settlers in the West Bank, a move aimed at restoring stability in the region, CNN reported.
The new order, first reported by Politico and expected to be announced on Thursday, will impose sanctions on several individuals who are accused of participating in the violent acts.
The executive order targets individuals accused of participating in violent acts that have undermined stability in the West Bank. The order will impose sanctions on four individuals directly involved in violent acts, including initiating riots, arson, assaults on civilians, and property damage.
David Chai Chasdai, Einan Tanjil, Shalom Zicherman, and Yinon Levi are the individuals named in the State Department’s announcement. The executive order blocks their financial assets and restricts their entry into the United States.
The White House notified the Israeli government in advance of these plans, CNN reported, citing an official.
Officials also stated that evidence had been compiled to prove the individuals’ roles in West Bank violence, with information gathered from public reporting. The acts attributed to them include leading riots resulting in the death of a Palestinian civilian, assaulting farmers and activists, and engaging in actions creating fear in the West Bank.
According to the State Department, Chasdai “initiated and led a riot, which involved setting vehicles and buildings on fire, assaulting Palestinian civilians, and causing damage to property in Huwara, which resulted in the death of a Palestinian civilian.”
Tanjil “was involved in assaulting Palestinian farmers and Israeli activists by attacking them with stones and clubs, resulting in injuries that required medical treatment,” according to a State Department fact sheet.
Zicherman, “according to video evidence, assaulted Israeli activists and their vehicles in the West Bank, blocking them on the street, and attempted to break the windows of passing vehicles with activists inside.” He cornered two activists, injuring both of them, according to the State Department.
Levi “led a group of settlers who engaged in actions creating an atmosphere of fear in the West Bank,” according to the fact sheet.
“He regularly led groups of settlers from the Meitarim Farm outpost that assaulted Palestinian and Bedouin civilians, threatened them with additional violence if they did not leave their homes, burned their fields, and destroyed their property,” it said. Levi “and other settlers at Meitarim Farm have repeatedly attacked multiple communities within the West Bank.”
President Biden, who has condemned such violence in the past, discussed the issue with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in recent months. The executive order is expected to address settler violence specifically, a sensitive topic given Biden’s backing of Israel in its conflict with Hamas in Gaza.
The move may signal a significant shift in Biden’s stance toward Israel and could be interpreted as a response to concerns from Muslim and Arab-American voters upset with his refusal to call for a ceasefire in the Gaza conflict.
In December, Secretary of State Antony Blinken introduced a policy to prevent extremist Israeli settlers involved in violence from entering the United States, applicable to both Israelis and Palestinians responsible for attacks.
Ultimately, the new policy is expected “to impact dozens of individuals and potentially their family members,” State Department spokesperson Matt Miller said at the time.
Settler violence in the West Bank has been a longstanding issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, escalating fears of revenge attacks and contributing to the recent deaths of Indian students in the US.
An estimated 700,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank. It’s unclear which specific acts those targeted by Biden’s executive order participated in, according to CNN.
Biden has raised the issue of settler violence in “almost every diplomatic conversation he has with Israeli leaders,” a senior administration official said.
“These actions pose a grave threat to peace, security and stability in the West Bank, Israel, and the Middle East region, and they also obstruct the realization, ultimately, of an independent Palestinian state existing side by side with Israel, and by extension the enduring peace and stability for Palestinians and Israelis alike,” the official added.
The executive order also aligns with President Biden’s efforts to address the broader Israel-Palestine conflict. Biden acknowledged the suffering of both Israelis and Palestinians during the National Prayer Breakfast, emphasizing active efforts to bring peace, security, and dignity to the region, CNN reported.-ANI

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