United States President Joe Biden signed an unprecedented executive order on Thursday against Israeli settlers for their participation in attacks in the occupied West Bank. It is the most forceful measure against the country’s citizens approved by a US government and comes amid Biden’s growing frustration with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (who governs in alliance with religious nationalism, fer spearhead of the settlement movement), for his rejection of the creation of a Palestinian state to resolve the Middle East conflict.
Currently, the rule imposes financial sanctions and visa bans on four individuals who participated in acts of violence against Palestinian or Israeli activists, as well as threats and attempts to destroy or seize their property. The sanctions aim to prevent them from using the US financial system and prohibit citizens from dealing with them.
The executive order also opens the door to additional sanctions against more individuals who directly or indirectly participate in violent actions or threats against Palestinian citizens (thousands of whom also have American citizenship) or who damage their property. In the text, they are defined as “terrorist actions”.
Among the first four sanctioned were David Chai Chasdai, for leading an attack on the Palestinian town of Huwara in which a Palestinian was killed and dozens of settlers burned many homes and cars, and Einan Tanjil, for attacking Palestinian farmers and Israeli activists with stones and weapons. bats. Another, Shalom Zicherman, was recorded attacking Israeli activists and their vehicles. He is accused. The fourth, Yinon Levi, frequently led settler groups to intimidate Palestinians, mainly Bedouins, from a nearby agricultural settlement, a means of seizing land that has gained increasing currency in recent years. None have American citizenship.
Settler attacks against Palestinians have increased since the Hamas attack on October 7 and the start of the war in Gaza. There are nearly half a thousand, with eight dead, according to data from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
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“These actions undermine U.S. foreign policy goals, including the viability of a two-state solution and ensuring that Israelis and Palestinians can achieve the same levels of security, prosperity, and freedom,” it said. the order signed by Biden. “They also undermine Israel’s security and can potentially lead to broader regional destabilization throughout the Middle East, threatening American personnel and interests,” it adds.
Prime Minister Netanyahu regretted the White House’s decision. In a statement released by his office, he assured that his country “already acts against all those who violate the law anywhere, so no unusual measures are necessary in this case.” Furthermore, he points out that “the vast majority of those who have settled in Judea and Samaria (biblical and official name of the West Bank) are law-abiding citizens” and that “many of them are fighting today as as regular forces or reservists in defense. of Israel. » Su Minister de Finanzas, Bezalel Smotrich, vinculado al movimiento colono, ha reacted con más durza: “The campaña ‘violencia de los colonos’ es una liera antisemita difundida por los enemigos de Israel (…) Es una pena que el Gobierno de Biden cooperate with her.
Between 2005 and June 2021, 92% of investigations into this type of crime were confirmed without accusation and only 3% were confirmed, according to Yesh Din (Hay justice, in Hebrew), an Israeli organization of human rights violations that sigue the theme. The NGO concludes, according to police data, that the number of accusations against Israelis for personal injury is six times lower if the victim is Palestinian. In the West Bank, a militarily occupied territory, Palestinians are subject to military legislation, while the approximately 500,000 Jewish settlers who live there are judged according to the country’s civil rules, like Israeli citizens.
Biden signed the executive order on the same day he plans to visit Michigan, the state in the nation with the largest Arab population. The president goes there for a rally after receiving support from the United Auto Workers union, but arrives in territory where he has been widely criticized for his support for Israel.
The president promised that those responsible for this violence would be held accountable for their actions. In late October, he said violence by “extremist settlers” amounted to “pouring gasoline” on the already burning fires of the Middle East. “This has to end. They must be held accountable. This must stop now,” he said.
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