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Biden Signs Executive Order Imposing Sanctions On Israeli Settlers Who Attack Palestinians

Archive shows long history of settler attacks against Palestinians dating back to at least 2010

Biden Signs Executive Order Imposing Sanctions On Israeli Settlers Who Attack Palestinians

President Joe Biden has signed an executive order authorizing sanctions against Israeli settlers in the West Bank who engage in violence against Palestinians and Israeli activists in occupied territory.

Citing “high levels of extremist settler violence, forced displacement of people and villages, and property destruction,” the White House says such actions threaten the “peace, security, and stability of the West Bank and Gaza, Israel, and the broader Middle East region,” which undermines U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives.

The sanctions could potentially be imposed on Israeli politicians and government officials as well.

Biden’s executive order is a seldom seen censure of Israeli policy and the most significant step ever taken by a U.S. administration in response to settler attacks. The action comes at a time when he faces increasing pressure from members of his own political party to take stronger actions against what many believe to be a genocide and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

“This violence poses a grave threat to peace, security, and stability in the West Bank, Israel, and the Middle East region, and threatens the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said.

Since Oct. 7, there have been nearly 500 settler attacks against Palestinians. The most recent violence is the latest in a much broader campaign of settler attacks stretching back decades. An archive of reports by +972 Magazine chronicles settler violence against Palestinians going back to 2010. One such incident resulted in a Palestinian baby being burned alive.

Biden's order comes as he heads to Michigan for a campaign event. According to U.S. Census data, the state has 3.5 million Middle Eastern and North African residents, many of which have been displeased with Biden’s lack of pressure on Israel to end hostilities. Arab leaders canceled a meeting with Biden that was scheduled during his visit.

State Department officials named four Israeli settlers who are the first to be impacted by the new sanctions:

  • DAVID CHAI CHASDAI initiated and led a riot, which involved setting vehicles and buildings on fire, assaulting Palestinian civilians, and causing damage to property in Huwara, which resulted in the death of a Palestinian civilian.

  • EINAN TANJIL who was involved in assaulting Palestinian farmers and Israeli activists by attacking them with stones and clubs, resulting in injuries that required medical treatment.

  • SHALOM ZICHERMAN who, according to video evidence, assaulted Israeli activists and their vehicles in the West Bank, blocking them on the street, and attempted to break the windows of passing vehicles with activists inside. He cornered at least two of the activists and injured both.

  • YINON LEVI led a group of settlers who engaged in actions creating an atmosphere of fear in the West Bank. He regularly led groups of settlers from the Meitarim Farm outpost that assaulted Palestinian and Bedouin civilians, threatened them with additional violence if they did not leave their homes, burned their fields, and destroyed their property. He and other settlers at Meitarim Farm have repeatedly attacked multiple communities within the West Bank.

“Israel must do more to stop violence against civilians in the West Bank and hold accountable those responsible for it,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement about the executive order. “The United States will continue to take actions to advance the foreign policy objectives of the United States, including the viability of a two-state solution, and is committed to the safety, security, and dignity of Israelis and Palestinians alike.”

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