The Biden administration is moving to impose sanctions on Israeli settlers involved in attacks on Palestinians, which will involve banning them from traveling to the United States.
Fresh Axios reporting on Tuesday has cited government officials who specify that multiple dozens of known Israeli settlers will be impacted by the visa ban, expected to be implemented by the State Department.
The US government has not sanctioned Israeli settlers going all the way back to the Clinton administration, but Washington has consistently condemned settler expansion in the West Bank, at least as far as public policy and rhetoric goes.
Gaza sources have said the death toll in the Strip has reportedly surpassed 15,200. Meanwhile the White House has come under increased international pressure to impose limits on Israel's military operations as well as usage of US-supplied bombs.
The conflict centered on Gaza has received by far most international media attention, but there's been a parallel war happening in the West Bank. Nablus, for example, last week was declared a closed military zone, and is under blockade by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for 55 days.
Regional sources say that since Oct.7 more than 250 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank - mostly in army raids and clashes with Israeli security forces, but also as a result of settler violence.
Axios has noted that since the conflict's start there's been "a spike in the number of attacks by settlers against Palestinians."
Two weeks ago the Biden administration circulated a memo to top State Department and other officials asking them to prepare action "against individuals or entities who directly or indirectly engaged in actions that threaten security or stability in the West Bank or take actions that intimidate civilians in the West Bank or actions that significantly obstruct, disrupt or prevent efforts to achieve a two-state solution."
‘They Came in the Dark’: Settler Violence Intensifies in the West Bank | NY Times | 12/4/23 pic.twitter.com/GjopV4HQ6r— Abdelrahman Badawy (@Abdul_Badawy) December 5, 2023
European countries like France are also said to be readying sanctions against settlers. European leaders have long been more vocal in highlighting the problem.
Since the Hamas terror raids which kicked off the Gaza war, individual Israeli citizens have sought to obtain assault rifles in droves. This has sparked concerns over US small arms being used by hardline Jewish settlers to attack Palestinians. Often it's for the sake of removing entire West Bank families from their land or olive groves.