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UK sanctions settlers in the West Bank

The Foreign Secretary has announced sanctions on 4 extremist Israeli settlers who have committed human rights abuses against Palestinian communities in the West Bank.  

There have been unprecedented levels of violence by extremist settlers in the West Bank over the past year. Some residents of illegal Israeli settlements and outposts have used harassment, intimidation and violence to put pressure on Palestinian communities to leave their land. 

The government notice said that the most recent sanctions will target extremist Israeli settlers who have “violently attacked Palestinians” in the occupied West Bank.

The sanctions will impose financial and travel restrictions in a bid to tackle continued settler violence which threatens West Bank stability. The government notice said those sanctioned have used “physical aggression, threatened families at gunpoint, and destroyed property as part of a targeted and calculated effort to displace Palestinian communities”.

Two of the individuals designated today – Moshe Sharvit and Yinon Levy – have in recent months used physical aggression, threatened families at gunpoint, and destroyed property as part of a targeted and calculated effort to displace Palestinian communities. One illegal outpost, set up by Zvi Bar Yosef, has been described by local Palestinian residents as a “source of systematic intimidation and violence.” 

Violence in the West Bank reached record levels in 2023 (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs). Israel’s failure to act has led to an environment of near total impunity for settler extremists in the West Bank. 

There have been almost 400 Palestinian deaths in the West Bank since October, of which a quarter have been children.

In the 12 weeks after the Hamas attacks, 83 children were killed in the West Bank — more than double the number who died in all of 2022. There have been a number of disturbing incidents. In one CCTV video from November, an eight-year-old boy is seen collapsing on the tarmac after he is shot in the back while fleeing Israeli soldiers in Jenin. The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said at the time that its soldiers were responding to explosive devices being thrown at them.

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