White House National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, delivered a statement on Thursday addressing the imposition of sanctions on extremist Israeli settlers in the West Bank by President Joe Biden. The move comes in response to actions by these settlers that have escalated tensions, posing a threat to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, as well as creating regional instability.
President Biden emphasized the intolerable levels of violence, leading to the displacement of people, destruction of property, and posing a serious threat to the peace, security, and stability of the West Bank, Gaza, Israel, and the broader Middle East region.
The President stated that such actions undermine U.S. foreign policy objectives, including the pursuit of a two-state solution and ensuring equal security, prosperity, and freedom for both Israelis and Palestinians.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed support for the sanctions, urging Israel to take more significant measures to halt violence against civilians in the West Bank. He reiterated the commitment to advancing U.S. foreign policy goals, including the two-state solution, and ensuring the safety, security, and dignity of Israelis and Palestinians.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu downplayed the threats posed by West Bank settlers, asserting that the majority are law-abiding citizens.
The U.S. National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, clarified that while no individuals have been named for sanctions yet, President Biden’s executive order empowers the Treasury to impose financial sanctions on those involved in violence against peaceful civilians in the West Bank.
Sullivan emphasized that recent acts by extremist settlers have intimidated civilians, destroyed property, and engaged in terrorist activities. The sanctions aim to promote peace and security for both Israelis and Palestinians.
President Biden underscored that the actions of these settlers not only undermine the security of the region but also pose a potential threat to U.S. personnel and interests. He declared the situation an “unusual and extraordinary threat” to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.
In a message to Congress, President Biden outlined the intention to levy sanctions against individuals involved in violence and displacements in the West Bank. These sanctions enable authorities to block or freeze assets under the control of U.S. institutions.