US President Joe Biden signed an executive order imposing sanctions on four Jewish settlers over violence against Palestinian civilians in the occupied West Bank, officials said Thursday. The US State Department is expected to announce the names of the people affected by the first round of sanctions later in the day.
"The situation in the West Bank — in particular high levels of extremist settler violence, forced displacement of people and villages, and property destruction — has reached intolerable levels and constitutes a serious threat to the peace, security and stability," Biden said in the order.
"These actions undermine the foreign policy objectives of the United States, including the viability of a two-state solution and ensuring Israelis and Palestinians can attain equal measures of security, prosperity, and freedom," Biden's order added. "They also undermine the security of Israel and have the potential to lead to broader regional destabilization across the Middle East, threatening United States personnel and interests."
The executive order includes freezing assets and placing visa restrictions on people found to have attacked or intimidated Palestinians or seized their property, according to two senior US officials.
United Nations figures show that daily settler attacks have more than doubled in the nearly four months since the Hamas attack and Israel's ensuing assault on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. The EU has also considered sanctions against violent Israeli settlers.
The United States, like Israel, Germany and several other countries, designates Hamas as a terrorist organization.