US sanctions Israeli settlers over West Bank violence

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Image shows Joe BidenImage source, Getty Images

US President Joe Biden has approved sanctions on four Israeli settlers accused of attacking Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

He signed an executive order authorising the sanctions on Thursday, saying violence in the West Bank had reached “intolerable levels”.

The sanctions block the individuals from accessing all US property and other assets.

They also prevent them from using the American financial system.

Violence in the West Bank has spiked since Hamas gunmen launched attacks on southern Israel on 7 October.

The sanctions marked a rare step by the US targeting Israelis. It comes as Mr Biden travels to the state of Michigan, which has a large Arab-American population that has been critical of his support for Israel.

The Arab American Institute, an advocacy group, earlier said that since the start of the conflict, support by Arab Americans for the Democratic Party has plummeted from 59% in 2020 to just 17%.

On Thursday, a senior official in the Biden administration said the president had consistently raised concerns with Israel about violence by settlers.

The executive order sets out the groundwork for how the US will respond to attacks in the West Bank.

“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,” Mr Biden said in the order.

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