US imposes sanctions on 3 Israeli West Bank settlers for violence against Palestinians

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  • The Biden administration imposed sanctions on three Israeli settlers in the West Bank accused of harassing and attacking Palestinians.
  • The sanctions also targeted two farms run by the settlers, escalating tensions between the U.S. and Israel.
  • Biden previously issued an executive order targeting Israeli settlers accused of violence in the West Bank.

The Biden administration on Thursday imposed sanctions on three extremist Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank who are accused of harassing and attacking Palestinians to pressure them to leave their land. Two farms that the settlers run were also targeted in the move that is likely to increase already heightened tensions between the U.S. and Israel over the Gaza war.

The announcement from the State Department and Treasury comes at a time of increasing friction between President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose far-right government has reacted angrily to previous sanctions imposed against West Bank settlers.

U.S. officials from Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have repeatedly raised concerns about a surge in settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank since Israel’s war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip began. Israel has said it is taking action against such attacks and argued that the sanctions are unnecessary.

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The immediate impact of Thursday’s sanctions was not clear as it is uncertain if any of the settlers or their farms have assets in U.S. jurisdictions. However, an earlier tranche of sanctions against settlers spooked Israeli banks that do business with them. The sanctions include travel bans for the targeted individuals.

A man looks at graffiti that reads, in Hebrew, “revenge, death to Arabs,” allegedly sprayed by Jewish West Bank settlers on Feb. 18, 2024, in the Palestinian West Bank village of Turmus Ayya. The U.S. has imposed sanctions on a group of three Israeli West Bank settlers who are accused of harassing and attacking Palestinians in an attempt to pressure them to leave their land. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser, File)

The State Department announced sanctions against settler Zvi Bar Yosef and his outpost, known as the Zvis Farm. Currently sanctioned in the U.K., Bar Yosef is accused of acting violently against Palestinians in the West Bank.

Moshe Sharvit, a settler also already sanctioned in the U.K., allegedly attacked Palestinians and Israeli human rights activists in the vicinity of his outpost, known as Moshes Farm, which is also now sanctioned by the U.S.

British officials in February stated that Sharvit and another settler threatened Palestinian families at gunpoint and destroyed property as part of a ” targeted and calculated effort to displace Palestinian communities.”

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Additionally, sanctions were imposed on Neriya Ben Pazi, who attacked and expelled Palestinian shepherds from hundreds of acres of land as recently as August 2023.

The U.S. sanctions block the men and their outposts from using the U.S. financial system and bar American citizens from dealing with them.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement that “there is no justification for extremist violence against civilians or forcing families from their homes, whatever their national origin, ethnicity, race, or religion.”

In February, President Joe Biden issued an executive order that targets Israeli settlers in the West Bank who have been accused of attacking Palestinians and Israeli peace activists in the occupied territory.

Currently, nine people and their properties have been sanctioned under the new executive order targeting West Bank settlers according to Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control database.

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