Washington, Dec 5 (EFE). – The United States announced on Tuesday that it has banned the entry into the country of “extremist” Israeli settlers responsible for violent attacks against the Palestinian population in the occupied West Bank.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that the Joe Biden administration decided to restrict visas to people “believed to have been involved in undermining peace, security or stability in the West Bank,” as well as their relatives.
The head of US diplomacy denounced that there are settlers who have carried out attacks and attempted to restrict Palestinians’ access to basic services in the West Bank, acts he described as “unacceptable.”
“We have underscored to the Israeli government the need to do more to hold accountable extremist settlers who have committed violent attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank,” Blinken said.
It is the first time the United States has announced sanctions against Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank, although many hold American citizenship and therefore cannot be barred from entering the country.
The State Department did not reveal the number or identities of the settlers banned from US territory, but its spokesman, Matthew Miller, said in a press briefing that the measure would affect “dozens” of settlers.
Miller explained that those sanctioned who have visas to enter the United States will be notified that their permits have been revoked, and the applications of those seeking to obtain or renew their visas will be rejected.
The occupied West Bank is experiencing its greatest spiral of violence since the Second Intifada (2000-05).
In 2023, 467 Palestinians died, most of them militiamen in armed clashes with Israeli troops and assailants, but also civilians, including more than a hundred minors.
The situation worsened in the wake of Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, which broke out on October 7, and since then 259 Palestinians in the West Bank (including more than 65 minors) have been killed in violence, nine of them in settler attacks, including one child.
On October 25, Biden said he was “alarmed” by settler attacks on Palestinians and demanded that they stop immediately.
“They’re attacking Palestinians in places where they’re entitled to be,” he said at a press conference.
In Tuesday’s statement, Binken called on those responsible for “all acts of violence against civilians in the West Bank, regardless of the perpetrator or the victim.”
He also spoke about the situation in Gaza, stressing that the United States has made it clear to Israel that it must take steps to protect civilians in the Palestinian enclave.
At the same time, Blinken added, Washington wants the Palestinian Authority to do more to stop Palestinian attacks against Israelis. EFE