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Israeli Banks Freeze Accounts Of Settlers Sanctioned By U.S.

Settler whose account was blocked says he is 'happy to be on the U.S. blacklist,' pledges to continue violent actions against Palestinians

Israeli Banks Freeze Accounts Of Settlers Sanctioned By U.S.

Israeli banks have begun freezing the accounts of multiple settlers who last week were added to the U.S. sanctions list for committing violence against Palestinians.

An executive order from President Joe Biden named four individuals sanctioned for “high levels of extremist settler violence, forced displacement of people and villages, and property destruction.”

Since Oct. 7, there have been nearly 500 settler attacks against Palestinians. The White House says such attacks 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 Biden administration has been under increasing political pressure to take action against Israel for what many consider to be acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing in the region.

Settler David Chai Chasda has been accused of initiating a riot, which involved setting vehicles and buildings on fire and assaulting Palestinian civilians, which led to at least one death. He has confirmed that his account at Bank Hadoar has been frozen, saying he hopes the bank will correct the “injustice” and release his money.

As reported by the Times of Israel, Chasda says he is “happy to be on the U.S. blacklist” and says sanctions will not motivate him to scale back his violent actions. “Let it be clear to Biden that I will continue my operations for the people of Israel and the land of Israel, because the Jewish people lives and they have returned to their land.”

A day earlier, as the Times explained, reports surfaced that Bank Leumi froze the account of a separate settler sanctioned by the U.S., Yinon Levi, who stands accused of assaulting Palestinians, burning their fields, destroying their property, and threatening them with additional violence if they did not leave their homes.

The attacks also include "stone-throwings at passing cars, assaults, and even alleged killings, with the vast majority of cases going unprosecuted," the Times reported.

U.S. officials are typically deferential to the Israeli government. The sanctions are the most serious action any U.S. administration has taken in response to settler violence, which has remained persistent for decades.

+972 Magazine maintains an extensive archive of settler violence spanning more than a decade. Firearms and arson are frequently used by Israeli settlers in violent intimidation campaigns against Palestinians.

“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.”

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story included a subtitle that did not specify that the violent actions would be directed at Palestinians

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