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Updated Feb 1, 2024, 12:37pm EST
politicsNorth America

Biden signs executive order targeting West Bank settlers who attack Palestinians

Biden
REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein
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U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Thursday targeting Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank who attack Palestinians, senior Biden administration officials said.

The executive order will allow the U.S. to impose sanctions on any foreign nationals who commit violence against civilians in the West Bank, as well as those who engage in intimidation, destroy or seize property, or commit acts of terrorism, the officials said. The executive order was first reported by Politico.

Any individual sanctioned under the new executive order will be subject to “full blocking” financial sanctions, one of the officials said, meaning their U.S.-based property or interests would be blocked and they would effectively be locked out of the U.S. financial system. U.S. citizens will also be barred from providing money, goods, or services to sanctioned individuals, the official said, unless a special license is issued.

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The State Department is expected to announce the first sanctions under the executive order on Thursday. The U.S. has briefed the Israeli government on the order, a second senior administration official said.

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There have been numerous reports of Israeli settlers becoming increasingly violent against Palestinians since the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks, and Biden has repeatedly condemned the rhetoric expressed by ultranationalist Israeli figures encouraging the attacks.

The move comes as Biden faces heightened pressure by Democrats to be tougher on Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu whose far-right government has refused to de-escalate the bombardment of Gaza. Nearly 27,000 people have been killed since Israel began its counteroffensive in the enclave, according to Palestinian health authorities.

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The U.S. State Department previously said it would begin restricting visas for Israeli settlers who attack Palestinians.

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