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State Department imposes financial sanctions on Israeli nationals for threatening peace in West Bank

In a recent move, the U.S. State Department decided to hit four Israelis with financial sanctions over their alleged involvement in promoting violence and instability in the West Bank. This decision came hot on the heels of President Biden’s executive order, giving the U.S. the authority to impose financial sanctions on any foreign individual seen as a threat to peace, security, or stability in the West Bank.

During a press briefing, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller explained, “Today’s action is a continuation of the steps taken in December when we imposed visa restrictions on numerous individuals contributing to violence and instability in the West Bank.”

President Biden also imposed sanctions specifically on Israeli settlers in the West Bank, responding to a reported surge in what the White House referred to as “extremist settler violence” in 2023. These sanctions will prevent dozens of settlers and their families from traveling to or doing business in the U.S.

The executive order specifically targets settlers involved in “acts or threats of violence against civilians, intimidation leading to forced displacement, property destruction, or engagement in terrorist activities in the West Bank.”

This decision followed the tragic death of 17-year-old U.S. citizen Abedel Jabbar, who was allegedly shot and killed by an Israeli settler in January while visiting the West Bank to explore his Palestinian heritage.

The four Israelis facing financial sanctions have been identified as David Chai Chasdai, Einan Tanjil, Shalom Zicherman, and Yinon Levi. The State Department outlined Chasdai’s involvement in leading a riot resulting in the death of a Palestinian civilian. Tanjil was accused of assaulting Palestinian farmers and Israeli activists, causing injuries that required medical attention. Zicherman was caught on video attacking activists and their vehicles, while Levi is accused of leading a group of settlers who allegedly terrorized the West Bank.

In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emphasized that the majority of settlers are law-abiding citizens, and Israel takes action against those who break the law. Finance Minister Benjamin Smotrich dismissed the accusations as an “antisemitic lie,” asserting that settlements will persist despite American sanctions.

As tensions escalate, the international community keenly observes how these measures will impact the ongoing situation in the West Bank.

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