Biden's popularity was damaged before the elections due to his position in support of Israel in its aggression against Gaza (French)

US President Joe Biden issued an executive order aimed at punishing Jewish settlers who attack Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

Biden believed that "the situation in the occupied West Bank, especially the high levels of violence by extremist settlers (...) and the destruction of property has reached unbearable levels and constitutes a serious threat to peace, security and stability in the West Bank, Gaza, Israel and the Middle East region."

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that the decision aims to address activities that undermine peace and stability in the West Bank.

Sullivan explained that the executive order would allow for the issuance of financial sanctions and visa restrictions against individuals found to have attacked or terrorized Palestinians or seized their property.

Sullivan stressed that Biden was clear about “Israel’s right to self-defense and its efforts to defeat (the Islamic Resistance Movement) Hamas,” noting that five packages of sanctions were imposed on Hamas.

In the same context, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that the executive order included imposing financial sanctions on 4 Israelis linked to violence against civilians in the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported, quoting an official in the Biden administration, that the latter is considering imposing sanctions on the two extremist ministers in the Israeli government, Minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich.

US National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby denied that there were currently plans to target Israeli government officials with sanctions.

Kirby indicated that the Israeli government was informed of the executive order related to the West Bank prior to its announcement.

The American move comes after the sharp criticism directed at the American administration due to its position in strong support of the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip, where it committed several massacres against the Palestinians, leading to the death of more than 27,000 martyrs and the injury of more than 66,000.

Last December, the United States began imposing a ban on granting entry visas to people involved in violence in the occupied West Bank.

The settlers took advantage of the aggression against Gaza to increase their attacks in the West Bank (Palestinian News Agency)

Israeli criticism

The American decision faced criticism from Israel, as a statement issued by the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed the government's dissatisfaction with Washington's tightening of sanctions on settlers accused of attacking Palestinians.

The statement stressed that the vast majority of West Bank settlers are “law-abiding.”

He pointed out that "Israel is taking measures against all violators of the law everywhere," explaining that there is "no need to take extraordinary measures regarding this issue."

In the same context, the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth said that Minister Smotrich attacked President Biden's administration, and said that "the American administration is cooperating with an anti-Semitic campaign that sanctiones the blood of settlers."

While Ben Gvir called on the United States to consider its policy towards the West Bank, he said that Biden is wrong regarding the citizens of the State of Israel and the "heroic settlers."

The extremist minister claimed that "the heroic settlers in the West Bank are the ones who are being thrown with stones in an attempt to harm and kill them."

Source: Agencies