(UnitedVoice.com) – The issue of illegal settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is one of the biggest drivers of the decades-old conflict between Israel and Palestine. The international community has largely condemned those settlements in recent years. Since October, there have been multiple attacks on Palestinians by extremists in the West Bank. President Joe Biden’s administration has now issued sanctions against some of those violent settlers.
On February 1, Biden issued an executive order that gave the Treasury Department and State Department the power to place sanctions on people who are attacking Palestinians in the West Bank. The first round of sanctions was on four individuals accused of being involved in attempts to destroy property belonging to Palestinians, threatening them, and carrying out acts of violence.
The sanctions would prohibit those four Israelis from using the American financial system and prohibit US citizens from engaging in any business dealings with the individuals.
In December, the United Nations issued a report that raised alarms about the “rapid deterioration” of human rights in the West Bank. Reuters reported the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights stated that at least 300 Palestinians in the region were killed between October 7 and the end of December. At least eight of them were killed by Israeli settlers, and Israeli air strikes and other military operations were responsible for 105 deaths.
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan issued a statement saying the president maintains his belief that Israel has the right to defend itself in the wake of the October 7 terrorist attack by Hamas that killed almost 1,200 people. However, Biden is also worried about the increase in violence in the West Bank that’s being carried out by extremists who want to push Palestinians out of their homes.
Sullivan stated the president’s new executive order will “implement new measures to address actions that undermine peace, security, and stability in the West Bank.”
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