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US sanctions: Netanyahu calls West Bank settlers law-abiding citizens

US sanctions: Netanyahu calls West Bank settlers law-abiding citizens

The US sanctions on Israeli settlers in the West Bank have been rejected by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who termed the sanctions exceptional and therefore unnecessary, referring to settlers as law-abiding citizens.

However, the Biden administration is said to be striving to secure $14bn in additional aid from the Israeli government, whose forces often accompany and protect settlers during their attacks on Palestinians

Amid escalating tensions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the United States has imposed sanctions on Israeli settlers accused of attacking Palestinian communities in the occupied West Bank. The move, announced on Thursday, targets individuals allegedly involved in assaulting and intimidating Palestinians, as well as an Israeli activist.

The sanctions, which include freezing assets in the US and restricting financial dealings, are seen as a response to the increasing pressure on President Joe Biden over his support for Israel amid its conflict with Gaza. The Biden administration has been scrutinised for handling the situation, especially as Biden campaigns for re-election later this year.

Among those targeted are David Chai Chasdai, Einan Tanjil, Yinon Levi, and Shalom Zickerman, who face allegations of perpetrating violence against Palestinians and Israeli activists. Ultranationalist government ministers Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich were considered for sanctions but were ultimately spared.

The White House, in announcing the sanctions, also introduced a new decree aimed at penalizing perpetrators of "extremist settler violence" in the West Bank. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan emphasized the grave threat posed by settler violence to peace and stability in the region, aligning with the Biden administration's foreign policy interests.

The announcement of sanctions comes amid ongoing concerns about accountability for settler violence. Palestinians have long criticized Israeli authorities for failing to hold settlers accountable for attacks, with accusations of tacit or direct support from the Israeli military.

However, critics argue that more substantial actions may be necessary to address systemic issues contributing to violence in the region.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration continues to pursue additional aid for the Israeli government, highlighting the complexities of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Despite calls for investigations into specific incidents of violence, Israeli authorities have been criticized for their perceived lack of accountability.

In a related development, a judge in Oakland referred extensively to a genocide case brought against Israel in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague. The judge's ruling suggested that the treatment of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip by the Israeli military may plausibly constitute genocide under international law, further complicating the diplomatic landscape surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

As tensions persist and calls for accountability grow louder, the Biden administration faces mounting pressure to balance its support for Israel with its commitment to human rights and stability in the region.

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TAGS:HamasBiden AdministrationFree PalestineIsrael Palestine Conflict
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