The U.S. State Department announced Thursday that it was imposing financial sanctions against four Israelis, after they allegedly contributed to violence and instability in the West Bank.
The announcement came hours after President Biden issued an executive order giving the U.S. the authority to impose financial sanctions against any foreign person who acts to threaten peace, security or stability in the West Bank.
‘The State Department is today imposing financial sanctions on four Israeli nationals for their destabilizing acts in the West Bank,’ State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said during a press briefing. ‘Today’s action falls on the steps we took in December to impose visa restrictions on dozens of individuals for…contributing to violence and instability in the West Bank.’
Biden imposed sanctions on Israeli settlers Thursday in the West Bank, after a 17-year-old American citizen was shot and killed there in January.
An announcement from the White House on the executive order states, ‘extremist settler violence’ reached record levels in the West Bank in 2023. The sanctions will ban dozens of settlers and their families from traveling to or conducting business in the U.S.
Biden’s order applies to settlers who make ‘acts or threats of violence against civilians, intimidate civilians to cause them to leave their homes, destroy or seize property, or engage in terrorist activity in the West Bank.’
The action came after 17-year-old Abedel Jabbar, a U.S. citizen, was allegedly shot and killed by an Israeli settler while visiting the West Bank in January. Jabbar’s family said he was visiting the area to learn more about his Palestinian heritage.
‘There is no justification for extremist violence against civilians, whatever their national origin, ethnicity, or religion,’ Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.
The four individuals who the U.S. imposed financial sanctions against are David Chai Chasdai, Einan Tanjil, Shalom Zicherman, and Yinon Levi.
The State Department said Chasdai initiated and led a riot that involved setting vehicles and buildings on fire, assaulting Palestinian civilians, and damaging a property in Huwara, which resulted in the death of a Palestinian civilian.
Tanjil, the State Department said, participated in assaulting Palestinian farmers and Israeli activists by attacking them with stones and clubs, causing injuries that required medical treatment.
Zicherman was seen on video assaulting Israeli activists and their vehicles in the West Bank, blocking them on the street. He also tried to break windows of vehicles passing by with activists inside, the State Department noted, adding that Zicherman cornered at least two activists and injured them both.
Levi is accused of leading a group of settlers who created fear in the West Bank. The State Department also said Levi led settlers from the Meitarim Farm outpost, who assaulted Palestinian and Bedouin civilians, threatened them with additional violence if they did not leave their homes, set fire to their fields and destroyed their property.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office issued a statement on the sanctions.
‘The absolute majority of the settlers in the West Bank are law-abiding citizens, many of whom are currently taking part in Israel’s defense,’ he said. ‘Israel acts against anyone who breaks the law. Therefore, no room for exceptional measures in this regard.’
Netanyahu’s finance minister, Benjamin Smotrich, called the accusations of violence by settlers an ‘antisemitic lie,’ and added that settlements in the region will continue.
‘If the price is the imposition of American sanctions on me — so be it,’ Smotrich said.
Fox News Digital’s Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report.