U.S. Cracks Down on Israeli Settler Violence against Palestinians with Sanctions



by FARUK IMAMOVIC

U.S. Cracks Down on Israeli Settler Violence against Palestinians with Sanctions
© Getty Images News/Omar Havana

In a significant policy shift, the U.S. government is poised to announce sanctions against Israeli settlers involved in attacks against Palestinians. This move, the first of its kind since the Clinton administration, signals the Biden administration's escalating concern over the violence in the occupied West Bank.

Escalating Tensions and Diplomatic Efforts

The decision to impose sanctions comes amid a surge in settler violence, particularly following the Hamas attack on October 7. Despite ongoing private and public dialogues with the Israeli government over the past three years, the U.S.

administration has seen insufficient action to curb these attacks. President Biden hinted at a possible visa ban in a recent op-ed for The Washington Post, underlining America's commitment to addressing the issue of settler violence.

The Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., Mike Herzog, has presented data to the State Department and the White House, highlighting a purported decrease in such incidents. However, U.S. officials maintain that the number of attacks remains significantly higher than levels recorded before October 7.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, during his recent visit to Israel, discussed the matter of settler violence with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. This conversation reflects the growing international concern over the ongoing conflict in the region.

“Today, the State Department is implementing a new visa restriction policy targeting individuals believed to have been involved in undermining peace, security, or stability in the West Bank, including through committing acts of violence or taking other actions that unduly restrict civilians’ access to essential services and basic necessities,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday.

“Immediate family members of such persons also may be subject to these restrictions”.

Implications of the Sanctions

The imposition of sanctions marks a noteworthy shift in U.S. policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

It reflects a growing impatience with the current Israeli government's handling of settler violence against Palestinians. This move could have far-reaching implications for U.S.-Israel relations and the broader dynamics of peace efforts in the Middle East.

As the situation develops, all eyes will be on the response of the Israeli government and the impact of these sanctions on the ground. The U.S. administration's decision underscores the complexity of navigating the longstanding conflict and the challenges involved in seeking a path toward lasting peace in the region.